Magazine article Dance Magazine

Brown's Form and Function

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Brown's Form and Function

Article excerpt

BROWN'S FORM AND FUCTION TRISHA BROWN DANCE COMPANY EISENHOWER THEATER, KENNEDY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS WASHINGTON, D. C. FEBRUARY 17-19, 2000

Trisha Brown's mastery of form is awe some. In presenting the body, she highlights contours and planes. When placing her dancers on stage, she sculpts space. In working with music, she invents shapes to match sonic volume and rhythm. Because of this formalism, Brown, in her middle period about a decade ago, neglected bodies. Her performers tended to look like pawns, not generators of motion.

Nothing of the sort was apparent on this program, particularly not in the two pieces to Dave Douglas's music--last year's Five Part Weather Invention and a premiere, Rapture to Leon James.

Motion arising, shifting, and peaking or subsiding within the human frame is clearly shown in the choreography. Strangely, this realism meshes with the poetry inherent in the movement's other aspect--Brown's play with choreographic forms. Jennifer Tipton's lights and Terry Winters's "visuals" (sets and costumes), too, count as poetry. Douglas's music is and isn't jazz. Some sections have jazz's slides, vibrations, and pulses. Other portions consist of tightly structured, post-Webern sound, like the opening of Weather, for which Brown's step text bubbles with invention-diverse themes richly developed. The dancing in the jazzy passages isn't quite on this level.

Rapture, which honors lindy hopper Leon James of Harlem's Savoy Ballroom in the late 1930s, begins by focusing on pairs. …

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