Dance among the Water Lilies: Trisha Brown Dance Company

7pm and 8.30pm: sold out

Trisha Brown: In Plain Site, duos and quatuors

With In Plain Site, the company broke free from the constraints of the stage to reclaim unexpected spaces, achieving a particular resonance between the architecture of each building and the moving body. The Trisha Brown Company thus revived the strength and sharp simplicity of this choreographer’s early performances: between structure and freedom, this series for the Water Lilies galleries includes a selection of pieces in situ such as Locus (solo) Newark (extract-solo), Working Title (extract-solo), Another story as in Falling (extract-2 to 4 dancers). A high profile setting to see the work of one of the great figures of the contemporary dance scene.
This dance, whose structural principles remain indiscernible, seems natural, and conveys directly the exuberant, serene and luminous vitality of the dancer and the exceptional fluidity of the directional movements that remains the magic formula of the choreographer.
Trisha Brown is still the unrivalled figurehead of this spirited community that forged new paths by experimenting outside the confines of the theatre.

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Trisha Brown : In plain Site Locus, 1975. Dancer : Marc Crousillat. Clark Art Institute Williamstown, MA, 2017.
Photo © Christopher Duggan

 

The programme of short pieces, In Plain Site, echoes the immoderate architecture of New York City, which became part of artistic creation by giving rise to new spaces, new rhythms and a new scale. Dance and its structure, visible and very simple, invented and expressed a new equilibrium, a vital, exhilarating organic force. This produced the now legendary Accumulation (1971), a spirited solo based on a simple process: adding one gesture to another, one at a time, with the repetition of the phrase increased for each new movement. For Locus solo (2000), a continuous action piece, the action is based on an ordered series of movements in a compartmentalised space…
Trisha Brown wished to analyse, to delineate the space immediately around her body in an attempt to understand the elusive style of her movement in order to teach it to others.
In Plain Site enables an intimate connection to be established with the spectator, and demonstrates that with Trisha Brown, dance is always in the here and now, a continuous process and a presence that reveals elements of her own past and future. This dance programme also leads us to reflect on the specific meaning of practices tackling temporality and re-creation. For Diane Madden and Carolyn Lucas, the choreographer’s close colleagues who are now associate artistic directors of the Trisha Brown company, the future of the company rests on the exploration and exhibition of the relationship between the Early Works and the stage pieces, the key factor being to continue to show the full scope of Trisha Brown’s work.

Biography
An emblematic dancer and choreographer of the post-modern movement, to whom we owe half a century of creation, Trisha Brown, who fascinated and influenced several generations of spectators and dancers, died in the United States in 2017, at the age of 80. With an exuberant and luminous vitality, her diverse body of work was linked to the radical adventure of the New York stage, of which the artist was a part in the 1960s.
While at the Judson Dance Theater, she undertook her experimental performances alongside visual artists and dancers who combined their creative processes: Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Simone Forti, Lucinda Childs, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Morris, Charles Ross and Carolee Schneemann, among others.  Trained in modern dance, before experimenting with what she called “structured improvisation” "because it places you in the space with its volume", Trisha Brown discovered the open air studio of Anna Halprin in San Francisco in the summer of 1960, before moving to New York where she joined a composition class led by Robert Dunn, in the Merce Cunningham dance studio. The principle of most of the exercises of the former pupil of John Cage, and Bauhaus admirer, was the written or drawn notation during the composition process. With Robert Rauschenberg, Simone Forti, Robert Morris, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, David Gordon, Deborah and Ale Hay, she was soon involved in the Judson Dance Theater, the crucible of postmodern dance and of the interlinked experiences between the visual and choreographic arts. In 1970, she founded her own company, while still being part of the improvisation collective, The Grand Union. Without music and in unusual spaces, she conducted lengthy experiments, always with humour, into gravity, verticality, weight, speed, repetition, accumulation, the geometric construction and perception of dance… The experiments, Early Works, took place on the benches and lawns of Central Park in order to reconsider public spaces, then in car parks, galleries and lofts and while floating on rafts. Thus Accumulation is a sum of movements coming from the wrist, which, through repetition, interlock the mechanism of the whole body horizontally. Line up is a work on the line, an elaboration of repetitive structures and changes of direction, and rhythms that result in breaks of energy. Locus, in which each dancer moves in her own space conceived as a cube, presents an imaginary volume. With Planes, Trisha Brown introduced "equipment dances" in which, challenging the scope of gestures and calling upon parts of the body not usually used, she invented a new equilibrium, a new movement. In Man walking Down the Side of a Building, on the façade of an apartment block, the horizontal progress of a dancer in a harness demanded extraordinary athletic strength. Trisha Brown then produced works for the stage, and continued her explorations with Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd and Laurie Anderson, organically adding set design, music, choreographic notation… She left around one hundred pieces, six operas and a body of drawings. Regularly invited to perform at the Festival d’Automne and at Montpellier Danse, many of this choreographer’s masterpieces have also entered the ballet repertoire of the Opéra de Lyon, the Opéra de Paris and the CCN - Ballet de Lorraine.