Performing Arts Legacies Online

Recently the Merce Cunningham Dance Company shut down following the death of Merce Cunningham.  The action taken by the founder are somewhat unique in the world of the arts and there have been observations of what this means.  Meanwhile the content of the Merce Cunningham Company, at least in part can still be found online through various video projects and the archive left by the company through the Living Legacy Plan and maintained by the Merce Cunningham Trust.  The continued availability of this content is carrying on the legacy in the true spirit of its founder who frequently wrote of the transitory nature of his performance and was a student of Buddhist philosophy.

Further performances have resided online for years through projects like On The Boards TV which is currently celebrating its two year anniversary with a sale of online content.  The content can be accessed through one time rental, purchase, and through subscription and is high quality, having been shot on 4-5 hi-definition cameras.  Through content providers like On The Boards TV  and do it yourself online venues such as YouTube and Vimeo the amount of online performing arts content has grown significantly.  Artists are gradually recognizing that real content online is critical for accessing new audiences and maximizing market penetration.

Innovation in the field of dance and theater can go deeper than this.   Critics have noticed a trend at fringe festivals of micro-performances and intimate theater.    While artists seem to be taking advantage of physical spaces for the time being, the possibilities for using digital spaces are increasing everyday.  The idea of doing live performances online has certainly received attention.  The growth of services such as Skype make interfacing virtually and therefore using these same services as a performance venue more likely every year.