Anthology: Trisha Brown

Trisha Brown’s name is engraved in the annals of contemporary dance history as one of the pioneers from the liminal era when modern dance evolved into postmodern dance. Beginning her long and varied career in New York in the 1960s, Brown became a leading figure in contemporary dance through her highly experimental work that overturned the conventions of theater as well as her collaborations with such artists as John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg. This year for Kyoto Experiment, the company presents three of Brown’s pieces for theater spaces.

Opal Loop / Cloud Installation #72503
Premiere: 55 Crosby Street, New York, NY, June 10, 1980

© Julieta Cervantes

First performed in a SoHo loft in 1980, Opal Loop / Cloud Installation #72503 is Brown’s stunning collaboration with Japanese fog artist, Fujiko Nakaya. This mysterious piece features four dancers enshrouded in Nakaya’s fog nozzle created “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.

L’Amour au théâtre
Premiere: Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY | April 29, 2009

© Julieta Cervantes

This dance was inspired by the opera Hippolyte et Aricie by the 18th-century Baroque master Jean-Philippe Rameau. Its impressive duets of aerial movements requiring complex and highly skilled physical abilities seem to embody the leaps of sound within the opera. Acclaimed as a true repository of Trisha Brown’s technique and style, it brilliantly fuses the theatrical music of Rameau with choreography based on the fundamental theoretical approaches present ever since Brown’s early work.

Groove and Countermove
Premiere: American Dance Festival, Raleigh-Durham, NC | June 29, 2000

Photo by Stephanie Berger

The final piece in a jazz trilogy this work reveals an intricate world of counterpoint between one dancer and the Company, the dance itself and Dave Douglas music, and the frenetic energy of the movement and Terry Winters’ set. Whether engaged in bold unison phrases or Winters’ catapulting each other through the air, the dancers create an intriguing environment, at once easy-going and vitally expressive.

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