The Trisha Brown Gap
Sad but true: The Trisha Brown Dance Company has announced that, because of health reasons, the two premieres on this weekend’s program at BAM will be Trisha’s last new dances. Her absence as a creator will leave a gaping hole in downtown New York as well as in the international dance world. (See my blog on Paris Opéra Ballet’s shared bill of Brown/Forsythe last month.) We’ve had lots of recent opportunities to see her early work in museums and festivals, and that will surely go on. The company performs some of those delightful brain teasers this April at UCLA, and they are going to Dance Umbrella in London in the fall. But the excitement of anticipating a new work from this great postmodern choreographer, whose liquid, unpredictable movement vocabulary is so influential, is over.
I started missing Trisha Brown as soon as I left her company in 1978. Dancing with her every day for three years was kinetically warm and coolly bracing at the same time. I’ve seen almost every new piece of hers since then, and seen the early pieces countless times. Last year I joined four other TBDC alumnae to perform her iconic “Spanish Dance” at Trisha’s 75th birthday/benefit party. The blog I posted at that time was a way of saying I’m gonna miss her.
During the BAM season of the Trisha Brown Dance Company (Jan. 30–Feb. 2) I’ll be joining Stephen Petronio and John Rockwell to give the Iconic Artist Talk on Feb. 2. We’ll show choice videos of Trisha’s dancing, her choreography, and her speaking. We’ll address questions about her work like, How did she get from the strict, formal accumulations to the free-wheeling high of Set and Reset? Why is the famous Trisha Brown rigor so elusive and hard to perceive? What was it like to dance with her? If you come, bring your questions.