Don’t Miss Trisha Brown Dance Company at NYLA

"Opal Loop" (Photo by Julieta Cervantes)

“Opal Loop” (Photo by Julieta Cervantes)

In the summer of 2012 I had the great privilege of working with the Trisha Brown Dance Company by providing them a residency on Governors Island and presenting “open studios” as part of The River To River Festival. They were preparing for the revival of Astral Converted at the Park Avenue Armory and it was thrilling to be able to peek behind the curtain to watch them rehearse and then see the show fully realized in the majestic confines of the Armory.

Ms. Brown has been in poor health for a number of years and if you have yet to see her work, or even if you have seen all of it over the past 50 years, this is a special and important opportunity to experience TBDC up close and personal.

At NYLA’s recent “Bill Chat” on “When Was the Downtown Established”  Anna Kisselgoff reminded us that Brown, like Meredith Monk and many others, rejected the label “downtown”, a point I mention only because she is an artist whose aesthetic and creative vision could never be contained by mere geography or social identity. During her long and storied career she readily worked across disciplines and collaborated with other great artists to create a body of extraordinary and timeless work.

It is ironic – or perhaps iconic? – that Trisha’s company is in residence at NYLA at the same time as the first male dancer in her company and one of her most renowned heirs, Stephen Petronio, has a season down the street at The Joyce. You could do worse than to spend a night with each of them over the next week or so.

From April 8 – 12 TBDC will perform Son of Gone Fishin’; Opal Loop/Cloud Installation #72503; Solo Olos; and Rogues on the mainstage.

From the press release:

The eagerly anticipated reconstruction of Son of Gone Fishin’ (1981), Brown’s first musical collaboration, features original music from Robert Ashley’s Atalanta. According to Brown, Son of Gone Fishin’ reaches the “apogee of complexity in [her] work.” This diabolically complex choreographic structure is belied by the constant ebb and flow of six dancers accompanied by musical arrangements from orchestral parts of three operas in Ashley’s Atalanta. The performances at Live Arts will debut newly created costumes by original costume designer Judith Shea, inspired by her archival design notes. Archival notes from the original collaboration, featuring a set by Donald Judd, will also be presented online.

Also newly reconstructed, Solo Olos (1976) is a section of Brown’s Line Up, a series of dances created at a point in Brown’s choreographic career when she was exploring a concept she called “Pure Movement,” which denotes movement free of other connotations. Epitomizing the rigor and play in Brown’s work, Solo Olos utilizes a brilliant network of interconnected phrases danced both forwards and backwards. As a “Caller” gives directions to the performers, an impromptu composition is revealed. As described by Deborah Jowitt in The Village Voice, “Solo Olos is as beautiful and subtly shaped as water rippling over stones. Like the title, the movements flow along, pause, and then reverse.”

Rogues (2011) was recently described as “[s]implest and best…[a]s they tipped, stepped, rotated and twisted, their dancing celebrated life rather than artifice” by Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times following its premiere at the Fall for Dance Festival. This duet for two men explores unison movement and aberration. With original music by Alvin Curran, costumes by Kay Voyce and lights by John Torres, Rogues “enthrallingly display[s] how an impulse that begins in a shift of the torso or a lift of the arm can create a momentum that the body, effortlessly it seems, converts into a phrase of shape and texture” (The New York Times).

Opal Loop/Cloud Installation #72503 (1980) is Brown’s “breathtaking” (The New York Times) collaboration with Japanese fog artist Fujiko Nakaya. This mysterious piece that flirts with perception and illusion features four dancers moving through Nakaya’s fog “cloud sculpture,” which creates sound as water passes through high-pressure nozzles. The movement reflects the delicate balance of the air surrounding the dancers, both constantly changing form and drifting off. Part of Brown’s “Unstable Molecular Structure” cycle, Opal Loop/Cloud Installation #72503 features costumes by Judith Shea and lights by Beverly Emmons.

In addition, there are some related events that look great, including lobby talks and – most exciting – a shared practice master class. Those programs include:

Apr 7 at 4:00pm Tech Talk: Behind the Scenes of Opal Loop/Cloud Installation #72503 in the Live Arts Theater, followed by a Q&A in the lobby

Apr 10 at 6:30pm Come Early Conversation: Diane Madden (Associate Artistic Director, TBDC) in dialogue with costume designer Judith Shea

Apr 11 Stay Late Discussion: TBDC dancers in conversation with Associate Artistic Directors, Diane Madden and Carolyn Lucas, moderated by Lee Serle

Apr 12, 1:00-4:00pm, Shared Practice Workshop with Samuel Wentz ($20)

In this Shared Practice master class, TBDC alumnus Samuel Wentz will guide students through the basic phrase from Son of Gone Fishin’. Students will warm up by investigating falling and touch and how this can relate to geometric, full-bodied moving. Exploring the way Brown worked with weight-sharing, counter-balance, and interference (from pieces such as Opal Loop/Cloud Installation #72503; For M.G.: The Movie; or Foray Forêt), students will build their own duets and trios, using the phrase as a movement vocabulary and compositional guide.

Immediately following class, students are invited to observe the Company’s “Hour Onstage” rehearsal followed by a Q&A with the dancers.

Book your place now!

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