If a Dancer Dances: Merce Cunningham’s Centenery

If a Dance Dances is an intriguing documentary about the dance world, focusing on the legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham, directed by Maia Wechsler.

At the center of this interesting chronicle is the question, how do you reconstruct a choreographer’s work when the choreographer is no longer around to act as a guide?

Dance notation and video are useful tools, but a performance only truly comes alive when it’s passed from one dancer to another.

This remarkably vivid film invites the viewer into the studio to witness three former Merce Cunningham dancers breathe life into the Stephen Petronio Company’s restaging of the iconic 1968 RainForest.

Timed to coincide with Cunningham’s centenary, If the Dancer Dances throws light on the mysteries of dance-making as it reveals the dedication and persistence it takes to inhabit a role.

If the Dancer Dances is a selection from the 46th annual Dance on Camera Festival, coproduced by Dance Films Association and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.