Choreography / 1991

Beach Birds

Cunningham said of his choreography for "Beach Birds", “It is all based on individual physical phrasing. The dancers don’t have to be exactly together. They can dance like a flock of birds, when they suddenly take off.” A work for eleven dancers, the rhythm for "Beach Birds" was much more fluid than other Cunningham dances, so that the sections could differ in length from performance to performance. John Cage composed the music, and painter Marsha Skinner provided the costumes and décor. The dancers were dressed identically in all white leotards and tights, with black gloves. Skinner’s backcloth was a white scrim on which the light varied in color and intensity, decided by a lighting plot that was devised using chance methods. While the timings did not relate to the dance structure, the gradual changes of light have been interpreted to imitate those that might occur from dawn to dusk on a beach. "Beach Birds" was adapted for film and called "Beach Birds for Camera."


Premiere Date

Jun 20, 1991

Premiere Venue

Theater 11

Premiere Location



John Cage, FOUR3


Marsha Skinner


Marsha Skinner


28 minutes

Original Cast

Helen Barrow

Kimberly Bartosik

Michael Cole

Victoria Finlayson

Alan Good

David Kulick

Larissa McGoldrick

Randall Sanderson

Robert Swinston

Carol Teitelbaum

Jenifer Weaver

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