A conversation with Bettina Wagner-Bergelt and Trevor Carlson
How are the works of performing artist handled after their death? Should their legacies be curated, licensed or archived and if so, how? Join Bettina Wagner-Bergelt, artistic director of the Tanztheater Wuppertal, and Trevor C. Carlson, Trevor C. Carlson, a long-time collaborator of Merce Cunningham and former Executive Director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation and Trustee of the Merce Cunningham Trust, as they share their experience working with artists' archives and legacies, on Sunday, August 2.
Beginning her work as a choreographer in 1968, Pina Bausch is the inventor of Tanztheater as it is known today. Since her untimely death in 2009, the company has continued to tour her 46 choreographic works around the world. After her death, her son Salomon established the charitable Pina Bausch Foundation in which he has placed her entire artistic legacy in accordance with her wishes. In addition to the vast collection of archive material, this legacy also includes the copyright to her pieces and choreographies and to the stage and costume designs of Rolf Borzik.
Merce Cunningham was one of the greatest American dance artists. Cunningham created 180 repertory dances and more than 700 site-specific Events. During his 70 years of creative practice, Cunningham's exploration forever changed the landscape of dance, music, and contemporary art. He famously collaborated with composers, musicians, visual artists, and others who shaped the arts and culture of the 20th century and at the start of the 21st century When Cunningham died in 2009, his precedent setting Legacy Plan was engaged signaling the planned closure of his Foundation, Dance Company, School, and Archive following a major preservation initiative and final world tour three years later. Currently, the Merce Cunningham Trust continues to share his life work through the licensing of his dances on repertory companies and in schools, by teaching and codifying the Cunningham Technique, and serving as a resource for scholars and artists, among other things.
(c) Tanztheater Wuppertal
took over the artistic direction of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in January 2019. From 2000 to 2016 she was deputy director of the Bayerisches Staatsballett and from 1990 to 2016 its head dramaturg. In Munich she built up an outstanding, international repertoire of modern and avant garde works. With the education program she developed, CAMPUS Staatsballett, Bettina Wagner-Bergelt initiated a benchmark interdisciplinary outreach scheme for dance and ballet. In 1987 she founded the Munich festival DANCE – Internationales Tanzfestival der Landeshauptstadt München and was its artistic director in 1987, 1989, 2008 and 2010.
Bettina Wagner-Bergelt has received awards including the 2016 TANZPREIS der Landeshauptstadt München, the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2014, and the Kinder zum Olymp Prize. She is a board member of the Bavarian association Tanz BLZT and the umbrella association Tanz Deutschland.
Bettina Wagner-Bergelt studied German and Spanish literature with theatre and film studies in Cologne and Berlin. She is married with two children.
(c) Mark Seliger
held multiple positions with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1998. In 2005 he was named Executive Director of Cunningham Dance Foundation and served in this capacity until the planned closure in 2011 which followed Cunningham’s death in 2009. Trevor created, with Merce Cunningham, The Legacy Plan
with the goal of addressing the digital preservation of Cunningham’s work, organization of a two-year farwell tour by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and financial/career transition packages for all dancers, technicians, musicians, and staff; all to be implemented at the time of Cunningham’s death. In 2011, Carlson joined four other trustees on the Merce Cunningham Trust, the entity responsible for the rights of Cunningham’s work and his legacy.
A graduate of The Juilliard School with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance, Trevor has lectured throughout South and North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Currently, he is Executive Director of Thorus Arts, based in Barcelona, Spain whose projects included Tour Producer for the Barbican’s production Antigone
directed by Ivo Van Hove and featuring Juliette Binoche, producer of Not a moment too soon
, a solo performance about Trevor’s time spent with Cunningham, created and directed by Ferran Carvajal, and Producer of the Merce Cunningham Centennial (2018-19).
Trevor currently serves as a Trustee of the John Cage Trust.