Merce Cunningham, Maker of Dances

Merce Cunningham, Maker of Dances: A conversation with members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company

Friday October 28, 6-7:30pm: RSVP Required!

MCDC’s Archivist David Vaughan and dancers Emma Desjardins and Melissa Toogood discuss “authorship” with The Project Room Founder Jess Van Nostrand. Topics will include originality, interpretation, archiving, and who really “owns” what in the world of dance. As with all events at The Project Room, the audience will be encouraged to participate in the discussion in an intimate setting that allows for conversation. The event is free but space is limited so please email to reserve a spot!


About the Presenters:


EMMA DESJARDINS grew up and began her dance training in Providence, RI. She graduated from Barnard College/Columbia University in 2003 where she trained and performed with its Dance Department.  Desjardins began dancing at the Merce Cunningham Studio in 2002, became a member of the CDF Repertory Understudy Group in 2004, and joined MCDC in January 2006, and is currently on faculty at the Merce Cunningham Studio.


MELISSA TOOGOOD earned a BFA in Dance Performance from New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL under Dean Daniel Lewis.  She began working with Cunningham as a member of the CDF Repertory Understudy Group in November 2005.  Melissa joined MCDC in June 2008.  A faculty member at the Merce Cunningham Studio since 2007, she has taught repertory workshops in her native city of Sydney, Australia. Melissa worked with Pam Tanowitz Dance, Miro Dance Theatre, was a founding member of the Michael Uthoff Dance Theatre and performed with writer Anne Carson.


DAVID VAUGHANArchivist, has danced, sung, acted, and choreographed in London, Paris, on and off Broadway, in American regional theaters, in film, television, ballet and modern dance companies, and cabaret. He is the author of Merce Cunningham: Fifty Years (Aperture, 1997) and of Frederick Ashton and His Ballets (revised edition, Dance Books, 1999). At the Dancing in the Millennium conference in Washington DC in July 2000, he received the 2000 CORD (Congress on Research in Dance) Award for Outstanding Leadership in Dance Research, and in September 2001 he received a New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) for sustained achievement.


This conversation is in partnership with Seattle Theatre Group (STG) in conjunction with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Legacy Tour  on October 27 & 28 The Paramount Theatre. More information and tickets at: