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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 4, 2009 / 14 Menachem-Av 5769

Dancing still

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The news that Merce Cunningham has died at 90 stirs disbelief. Like the report of a unicorn dying.


There was so much praise heaped on this dancer of dancers for what seemed like a century, and just about was, that something within rebels at heaping on still more in retrospect.


For who hadn't at least heard his name, or seen it on a poster while passing through LaGuardia or Grand Central at one time or another?


Dancer, choreographer, force beyond or maybe opposed to nature, he was a life-long revolutionary against his own art. But that doesn't say nearly enough. He was always avant the avant-garde, or maybe just on a different path altogether, as if he were in a different dimension, dancing to a different drummer, and not caring whether anybody would follow. Which of course meant that just about everybody in dance tried to.


Merce Cunningham, it said in his obituary, was a great influence. He was an influence, all right, the way a cyclone is an influence on the Kansas plains. Nothing is the same after one of those things sweeps through. Or rather everything is gone. To say that he exemplified modern dance in the 20th century doesn't sound right, maybe because he made modern dance old-fashioned.


He wasn't so much a dancer as an out-and-out whirlwind, and where he would stop, nobody knew, surely including himself on occasion. As a dancer, he was more of an electrical current, and as a choreographer he was ... a kind of splattering explosion followed by its opposite, an absolute stillness. Sometimes both at the same time, a sight that can't be described. But he could dance it.


Merce Cunningham wasn't so much a theatrical phenomenon as a zoological one.


There was no judging him by anyone else's standards. Certainly not by Baryshnikov's or Astaire's. Not even by Balanchine's. He made them all look ... traditional. He danced and thought on a different plane, or maybe danced and non-thought. The worship that a Martha Graham or a long-ago Isadora Duncan inspired might come closest to both the fascination and unease he could inspire.


If he'd been a writer, Merce Cunningham would have been the kind who turns grammar upside down, inside out, and every way but loose, and then just tosses the whole thing aside as beside-the-point.


What's more, he could do it while standing still.


He once tried to put what he was up to in words. He said he was after stillness in motion and motion in stillness. I'm not sure what that piece of zen meant. Maybe we weren't supposed to be sure, about anything, when watching him or his dancers. If great art is never pat, then his art certainly qualified. He took us to the strangest places.


And he did it approximately forever. The namesake of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company appeared in its every performance till he got to be 70. He celebrated his 80th birthday by dancing a duet with Baryshnikov at Lincoln Center, even if he had to hold on to a barre to do it. Yet he was the one you watched, mesmerized. He celebrated his 90th birthday with a gala at the Brookyln Academy of Music. He was a New York constant — all around the town.


Of course he would gravitate to New York from his birthplace in Washington State at an early age; that's what American dancers did. And still do. New York, New York, he made it a wonderful town even during those years when it wasn't. Or at least he made it an even stranger one. Who else would try to dance to John Cage's music? Well, actually a number of talented dancers did, but Merce Cunningham succeeded.


After all those years, and all that adulation, and all that talk about him après-dance, Merce Cunningham came to seem more institution than dancer, more poster than real. It had never been easy to think of him as real anyway. He was an Icarus who never fell to Earth — for he had no need of wings. He flew without them. And all of us groundlings just looked up in awe, admiration and, we admit it, an occasional yawn. After a decade or three, or four, awe and admiration start to seem canned.


Maybe that's what bothered some of us. And why we started to feel about Merce Cunningham the way good ol' Holden Caulfield did about the over-advertised Alfred-Lunt-and-Lynn-Fontanne in "Catcher in the Rye." Don't misunderstand, ol' Holden liked 'em just fine, but in the end he couldn't help feeling they were "too good."


Some of us came to feel the same way about Merce Cunningham. It's a terribly tiring thing, threescore years and ten of praise. It wears out the listener, makes him lonesome, ornery and mean whenever the name of the Great Artist is mentioned, and still another gala anniversary celebration must be observed. It's an altogether human reaction: Enough is enough and too much is too much. We rebel.


It's all a natural response to the occasional extra-terrestrial who comes around, and around and around and around, like some bright comet, before finally tearing himself away from the dreary pull of our ordinary gravity and incomprehension. At last his brightness goes whirling away into the darkness — yet still seems fixed in the firmament.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here. Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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