Thurs-Sat | November 21-23, 2019


Robert Swinston



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A special performance of Cunningham masterworks

Biped and Beach Birds

Artistic Director, Robert Swinston 

Live music featuring Gavin Bryars 

Under the direction of former Cunningham dancer Robert Swinston, France's National Center for Contemporary Dance/Angers will perform two masterworks by the legendary Merce Cunningham. In Biped, the animate and intimate meet through a fascinating intersection of enthralling choreography and motion-capture technology. In Beach Birds, dancers move with the fluidity of flocks of birds. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the genius of Merce. 

There will be a pre-show talk before each performance from 6:50-7:05 with Bonnie Brooks,Associate Professor Emerita in Dance at Columbia College Chicago in Dance and Legacy Fellow for the final tour of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company before its closure at the end of 2011. Read Bonnie's bio here.
The talk is free and open to all ticket holders!

Masterclass information below. 


Thurs-sat | Nov 21-23 | 7:30pm

Newmark theatre

For more information on the company, visit

Show FAQ

What the press is saying: 

"Beach Birds unfolds like an airborne flock of birds, constantly in motion, yet seemingly still as they soar, catching an air current. A pair or trio of dancers come together for a moment, break off, regroup, like birds alighting...Read more" -DC Metro Theatre Arts 


"The dancers maintain the calm strength that tells us everything about their commitment to Cunningham, and of Swinston’s commitment to his dancers... Read more" -The Boston Globe

Cunningham technique masterclass
Saturday, November 23, 2019 | 12:30-2PM 
FLOOR Center for Dance | 6635 N Baltimore Ave #271, Portland, OR
Cunningham Technique class with former Cunningham company dancer Robert Swinston.

To reserve your space: CLICK HERE
*Space is limited! Reserve TODAY! Suggested donation of $12-15 day of. 

Cunningham Technique develops clarity, strength and flexibility in both the spine and legwork. The torso and legs are used either in coordination or opposition to one another. Spatial awareness is gained by implementing multiple changes of direction within a single phrase where any point in the space can be the dancer's front. In more advanced work, various parts of the body move simultaneously in multiple directions. A variety of meter and tempo are given throughout the class to build a foundation for rhythmic precision and dynamic movement.

Robert Swinston danced with Merce Cunningham Dance company for thirty-one years. He joined the Company in August 1980 and became Assistant to the Choreographer in July 1992. Following Cunningham's death in July 2009, he was named Director of Choreography, and oversaw the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Repertory Understudy Group and its work with the Cunningham Educational Outreach Program until the closure of the Company in 2011. Beginning in 1998 he oversaw many Cunningham archival reconstructions for MCDC and staged Cunningham works on other companies, including Boston Ballet, White Oak Dance Project, Rambert Dance Company, New York City Ballet, Bayerische Staatsballet and the Paris Opera Ballet. In 2003, Swinston received a "Bessie" Award for his performance in the revival of Cunningham's How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run. In January, 2013 Swinston became Artistic Director of the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine (CNDC) in Angers, France where he continues to share the Cunningham Legacy.

Robert has overseen Cunningham repertory for more than 25 years.
Floor Center for Dance.jpg
Did you know? talking points about the work
  • Robert Swinston, a longtime dancer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, was named assistant to Cunningham in 1992 and finally director of choreography after Cunningham’s passing in 2009.

  • Swinston was awarded a Bessie Award for his role as a dancer and for his participation with Cunningham and Carolyn Brown in the reconstruction of the 2003 revival of Cunningham's How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run.

  • In January 2013, Robert Swinston was appointed artistic director of the CNDC/Angers.

  • Robert Swinston was director of choreography at the Merce Cunningham Trust in 2012 and the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation for the repertoire, pedagogy and educational programs from 2010 to 2011.

  • The National Center for Contemporary Dance - CNDC - was created in 1978 at the initiative of the Ministry of Culture and the City of Angers. It was originally designed as a school for choreographers and the headquarters of a permanent company.

  • April 23, 1999 was “Biped’s” original premiere date performed at the Zellerbach Hall, at the University of California in Berkeley, CA.

  • “Beach Birds” premiered Jun 20, 1991 at Theater 11 in Zurich, Switzerland.

  • There are 11 dancers in CDNC Angers.

  • Merce Cunningham choreographed over 200 dances and more than 800 site-specific “events” over the course of his lifetime.

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PO Box 99

Portland OR 97207

​​Tel: 503.245.1600

BIPED, Photo by Jef Rabillon