Valentine’s Day @ Trisha Brown @ Dia: Beacon

February 14, 2010

It was the kind of experience you’d want to share with someone you love: quiet, expansive, sensual, revelatory. So many c
ouples made the trek to Beacon, NY for a romantic viewing of Trisha Brown’s early work at Dia: Beacon. 

Floor of the Forest
 found a home in the Chamberlain gallery, where his crushed car parts fit nicely with the recycled clothing of this 1970 piece. Two male dancers (Todd Stone and Samuel von Wentz) threaded through the various garments, which were tied to a horizontal rope grid suspended above the floor. You could squat and see them underneath the grid, or stand and see them above it. Either way, living limbs and garment limbs became nicely confused.


The biggest thrill was seeing
(1974), with 10 dancers, 10 ladders, and 10 gigantic pillars in the cavernous lower level gallery. Each dancer was rigged to be perpendicular to a column. On a given cue, they walked around it till they land on the ground, still perpendicular to the column. This was a 5-second miracle. When you see all 10 from a certain angle, it’s like seeing apparitions sail in, head first, amidst a forest. Very Taglioni—but of course minimalist.


So much of “seeing” Trisha’s work has to do with what you don’t see.
We couldn’t possibly see all 10 dancers spiraling down at once. And we couldn’t see every wriggle made by the two dancers stuffing themselves into and out of clothing in Floor of the Forest.
And we couldn’t see Leah Morrison’s face in You can see us, which I really wanted to see because from the back you could tell she was really dancing full-out, accenting every scoop and swing. And in Skymap (1969) we only saw what we imagined as we heard Trisha’s voice telling us about places in the map or words that trot around on their own.


So all those sweethearts who spent their Valentine’s Day watching the Trisha Brown Dance Company at Dia: Beacon must have learned a lot about what each other’s imaginations.