FRED Interview

Lise Friedman, Maia Wechsler – If the Dancer Dances

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10 min. and 51 sec.

“If the dancer dances, everything is there.” — Merce Cunningham.

Play Podcast
10 min. and 51 sec.

PODCAST| Samantha Sartori interviews Lise Friedman and Maia Wechsler, producer and director of the film If the Dancer Dances.

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

At the theatrical release of If the Dancer Dances we meet the director and producer Maia Wechsler and producer Lise Friedman, we talk about the idea to honor Merce Cunningham’s work, one of the most innovative and inspiring choreographers of modern dance in New York, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 90. If the Dancer Dances opens theatrically in New York (The Quad) on Friday, April 26th and in Los Angeles on Friday, May 3rd (Laemmle Music Hall), with a national release to follow.

If the Dancer Dances invites viewers into the intimate world of the dance studio. Stephen Petronio, one of today’s leading dance-makers, is determined to help his dancers breathe new life into RainForest (1968), an iconic work by the legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham. With help from three members of the former Cunningham company, the film tracks Petronio’s dancers as they strive to re-stage this great work, revealing what it takes to keep a dance – and a legacy – alive. Timed to coincide with Cunningham’s centennial, If the Dancer Dances is the first documentary on the subject of Cunningham’s work since his passing in 2009. Merce Cunningham was an American dancer and choreographer who stood at the forefront of American modern dance for more than 60 years. As a choreographer, teacher, and leader of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Cunningham had a profound influence on modern dance and earned some of the highest honors bestowed in the arts, including the National Medal of Arts and the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellowship. Cunningham is also notable for his frequent collaborations with artists of other disciplines, including the musicians Radiohead and John Cage (also his life partner), as well as visual artists Andy Warhol, who did the décor for RainForest , the dance featured in If the Dancer Dances, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

To discover more about the film, click here.

  • Reporter
    Samantha Sartori
  • Guest
    Lise Friedman / Maia Wechsler
  • Interviewee role
    Producer / Director
  • Film title
    If the Dancer Dances
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