Dance: A Legendary “Occasion”

Though their objectives are always praiseworthy, benefit events are so frequent in Los Angeles that one can blur into the next. Not this one.

On Monday, June 7, at the Roy and Edna Disney/Cal Arts Theatre (REDCAT), dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov, 62, will make an extremely rare appearance as guest artist with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, as part of a special evening to raise funds for the Cunningham Dance Foundation. Baryshnikov and company will perform Cunningham’s Occasion Piece, with music by John Cage (performed by Paul Berkholds and Jacqueline Bobak) and costumes by Romeo Gigli (for io ipse idem). Baryshnikov originally performed the piece with Cunningham himself in 1999; their artistic relationship dates to the 1980s.

The evening includes a cocktail reception, the world premiere screening of the film With Merce (by Cunningham’s longtime collaborator Charles Atlas), and, following the performance, dinner with the artists. Hosts of the evening are said to include actress Marisa Tomei.

This event is the culmination of the MCDC’s appearance in Los Angeles (performing Roaratorio) which is itself part of a two-year, 40 city world tour to girve audiences a final opportunity to see some of Cunningham’s works performed by dancers he trained himself (Cunningham died last year at age 90). The company will disband after a final performance in New York City on December 3, 2011.

“Merce Cunningham reinvented dance, and then waited for the audience.”—Mikhail Baryshnikov

Tickets are $1000.00 (or $350.00 without dinner), and extremely limited.  Those interested should immediately call (213) 237-2805 or email

The Roy and Edna Disney/Cal Arts Theatre (REDCAT) is located at 631 West Second Street, Downtown LA