• LIFE (c) Dolly Brown
  • LIFE (c) Dolly Brown
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A Love Letter to Merce Cunningham
We have spent three decades watching and being inspired by Merce Cunningham's work. At the back of our minds, there was always the tickling thought: What if Merce had choreographed juggling? Is it possible to create something that, whilst clearly has its roots in the Cunningham universe, is a vector outward to another world? Something new that retains the essence of the original, something which would not have existed without the source but that also has its own raison d’être?

LIFE is our attempt at answering some of these questions.

We are elated at having the approval and assistance of the Cunningham Trust and have already started studio sessions with some ex-company members.


Jennifer Goggans will work with us on the dance elements: originally from Owensboro, she joined the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 2000. Goggans danced with MCDC until the company's planned closure in 2011 and was named Assistant to the Director of Choreography during the company's Legacy Tour. Goggans has been teaching Cunningham Technique since 2005 and has taught master classes and workshops throughout the United States and across the globe.

Caroline Shaw is a New York-based musician —vocalist, violinist, composer, and producer— who performs in solo and collaborative projects. She was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy-winning Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member. Caroline loves the colour yellow, otters, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, Kinhaven, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin. For LIFE, she will compose an original piece, tentatively called Love Songs About Abstraction.

As with 4x4: Ephemeral ArchitecturesMeta and SpringLIFE will see the company produce a high quality and technically ambitious production working with Guy Hoare – a prestigious lighting designer with a list of accolades and awards to his name.


“There’s a pure pleasure in the cleverness of all this; the performers are uniformly transfixing, their smiles utterly infectious.” The Observer ★★★★★

“A jaw-droppingly complex blend of dance and juggling.” The Financial Times ★★★★★

“You can imagine the ever-curious choreographer would have loved this little gem of a show.” The Guardian ★★★★

“The compact performance has been assembled with enough unpretentious charm, skill, wit, and warmth to please those who do or do not know of the work of that late, great American choreographer.” The Financial Times ★★★★

“A Peerless display of bodies in pure harmony.” Evening Standard ★★★★

“The performers manage to both conceal and reveal the technique behind the art and are not shy of exhibiting emotions.” Seeing Dance


Director: Sean Gandini
Assistant to the director: Kati Ylä-Hokkala
Rehearsal director: Emma Lister
Cunningham Consultant: Jennifer Goggans
Lighting design: Guy Hoare
Composition and voice: Caroline Shaw
Additional Choreography: Anna Chirescu
Performers: Benjamin Beaujard, Sean Gandini, Jennifer Goggans / Anna Chirescu, Kim Huynh, Sakari Männistö, Erin O’Toole, Jose Triguero, Yu-Hsien Wu, Kati Ylä-Hokkala


Setting: Indoor and outdoor, mid-scale

  • indoor: 65 minutes
  • outdoor: 35 minutes

Age range: all age groups


Merce Cunningham Trust (New York, USA); Théâtre de la Ville (Paris, France); Danse Élargie (Paris, France); Maison des Jonglages (La Courneuve, France) Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts (UK); Dance East (Ipswich, UK); London International Mime Festival (UK); Arts Council England (UK)


We have a wide range of workshops available on demand. Workshops are aimed at professional jugglers, performers, and those that are new to the art form. 
We also offer post-show discussions with the director of the company and the performers.
Get in touch with the team to discuss ideas.