2009: The year in dance

By MARCIA B. SIEGEL  |  December 22, 2009

In March, the Boston dance community celebrated the 80th birthday of teacher/choreographer CLAIRE MALLARDI, who taught Radcliffe students and practically everyone else in modern dance for more than 40 years. Another beloved teacher/choreographer, MARCUS SCHULKIND, was the 2009 winner of the Boston Dance Alliance Dance Champion award. We lost a favorite personality in March with the unexpected death of DR. MICHAEL SHANNON, who originated the role of Drosselmeyer in BalletRox's Urban Nutcracker.

Although they took place in Manhattan, two highlights of the year for me were the massive MERCE CUNNINGHAM MEMORIAL at the Park Avenue Armory and MEREDITH MONK's Ascension Variations at the Guggenheim Museum. Besides honoring Cunningham, the memorial performance brought the dance company of today together with alumni and students to perform Cunningham's choreography, and a huge audience to revisit and celebrate their work. The evening was a living testimony not only to Cunningham's long creative life but to his influence on us all.

Monk, who sang a short epilogue at the Cunningham memorial, produced her own enormous music-movement piece, one with roots in her 1969 breakthrough work, Juice, which also took place at the Guggenheim. Wordless and almost intangible, Monk's company and two big New York choirs literally transported the audience through time and space in the coiling rotunda of Frank Lloyd Wright's museum.

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