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The Ruby is a catalyst for creativity and a home for making art at Duke.
Date & Time
April 6, 2019 at 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Free; reservations required. Register here!
“The Cube” Dance Studio 224 at the Rubenstein Arts Center
2020 Campus Dr
Durham, NC 27705

Duke Dance is excited to celebrate the centenary of legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham with a set of unique classes at the Ruby, developed by dancer and choreographer Justin Tornow. Justin will present a series of master-classes, vibrantly reworking some of Cunningham’s methodology and propositions. This series acts as a basic introduction to Cunningham technique as well as a launch pad for Tornow to infuse it with contemporary agency. Tornow is currently a Merce Cunningham dance research fellow at the New York Public Library. Everyone is welcome and classes are open to all student and community dancers. The classes are FREE but registration is required.


Cunningham Technique – developed by the avant garde choreographer Merce Cunningham – is well known for increasing a dancer’s range, physical strength, and possibilities for movement. Notably, the practice is also rooted firmly in an ideology based on freedom, individuality, and experimentation. Over the course of the 5-week series, we will use each class as a laboratory to research how we can apply Cunningham principles to our own movement interests. We will begin by exploring the standard Cunningham class format, then gradually erode the set structure to extract essential elements and features of the work to embody in guided composition studies and improvisations.


Justin Tornow (MFA-Choreography) is a teaching artist and researcher currently based in Durham, NC. She is the director of COMPANY, producer of the artist series PROMPTS, and a co-founder of Durham Independent Dance Artists (DIDA.) Justin’s work is collaborative and inter-disciplinary, in partnership with composers, musicians, film and video artists, and visual artists. Her research projects focus on pedagogies of dance technique and the development of collaborative choreographic contexts. Justin recently served as artist-in-residence at Tanzart Atelier in Germany, is summer faculty at the American Dance Festival, teaching composition and Cunningham technique courses, and is currently a New York Public Library Merce Cunningham Dance Research Fellow (pedagogy). Justin also serves as part-time dance faculty at UNC-Greensboro and Elon University, teaching studio courses in technique, composition, and repertory.

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