Merce Cunningham Trust

Beach Birds for Camera 1992


DANCES Beach Birds
LENGTH 28 minutes
DIRECTOR Elliot Caplan
PRODUCER Cunningham Dance Foundation
DISTRIBUTOR Electronic Arts Intermix, Alexander Street Press
VIDEO SAMPLE Click Here
COLOR/BW Color
MUSIC Four3, John Cage
MUSICIANS John D.S. Adams, Takehisa Kosugi, Michael Pugliese, David Tudor
DANCERS Helen Barrow, Kimberly Bartosik, Michael Cole, Emma Diamond, Victoria Finlayson, Frédéric (Foofwa d'Imobilité) Gafner, Alan Good, David Kulick, Patricia Lent, Larissa McGoldrick, Randall Sanderson, Robert Swinston, Carol Teitelbaum, Jenifer Weaver
"Beach Birds for Camera" is an adaptation of a dance work originally made for the stage adding three additional dancers. This film combines different shooting locations, black and white and color film, and Dolby stereo sound to present dance through the visual medium of film. When it was first suggested to John Cage that he should create a work in collaboration with Merce Cunningham for the 1991 James Joyce/John Cage Festival in Zurich, Cage had the idea to write a large scale piece to be called "Ocean," the projected title for Joyce's next novel - never to be written - following "Finnegan's Wake." No suitable space was available for such a project, so it was decided that instead a new dance would be made for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company's repertory. Cunningham had always intended to call his part of the work "Beach Birds," and so the title remains. Filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios and Industria Superstudio in New York, NY, December, 1991. Winner: 1994 Grand Prix International Video Danse Carina Ari Stockholm, 1994 Academie des Beaux-Arts/Studio Adaptation Stockholm, Grand Prize, 1993 IMZ Dance Screen Festival, Frankfurt. Best of the Show award, 1993 Dance on Camera Festival, Lincoln Center, NY.