Magazine article Dance Magazine

Trisha Brown Dance Company

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Trisha Brown Dance Company

Article excerpt

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland, Oregon October 2, 2002

What if ...? That is the question writers of speculative fiction ask themselves before they sit down to tell their stories of distant worlds in future times.

For more than four decades, since she began making dances with her students at Reed College in 1958, that is the question Trisha Brown has been asking herself--and her dancers--about movement: its shape, speed, context, design, and the possibilities for extending the limits of the human body to make art.

The answers she comes up with are different, unique to each piece. She is that rare bird, an artist who has developed her own idiosyncratic vocabulary, but invariably and generously she gives her audience something new to see and think about with every dance she makes. Her latest work, Geometry of Quiet, which received its North American premiere, shows Brown in a mood of restrained, judiciously measured eloquence.

Difficult to dance and challenging to watch--blink and you will miss a shift in balance, a transformation from rippling arms to angular ones, the way a foot descends to the floor--the work is what the title says it is and a good deal more. Visually elegant (the choreographer designed the set; Christophe de Menil's pastel costumes have a fluid chic) and emotionally contained, Geometry is, as Brown says, "tender," much of the movement serving as a metaphor for humanity's need for the consolation of companionship, the solace of touch, and the security of the ground. Gravity in this work becomes gravitas in gently subtle ways. On the infamous September 11, Brown was working on a new commission from Portland's White Bird Presents, among others. The work changed and became not so much an overt response to the events of that day but rather a dance about the impact of trauma on the human psyche. …

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