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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Iconic Artist: Trisha Brown

With roots in the Judson Dance Theater of the mid 1960s, these days Trisha Brown can be found working with the Paris Opera Ballet, or choreographing operas such as L’Orfeo or Die Winterreise, or mounting retrospectives of her work in dance and visual art at venues like the Walker Art Center or MoMA. Since founding the Trisha Brown Dance Company in 1970, Brown has collaborated with some of the most forward thinking artists of the last 40 years, including Donald Judd, Yvonne Rainer, and Terry Winters.

Her first appearance at BAM was part of the two-day program Intermedia ’68. (The tagline in its promotional materials reads “Would you believe—in Brooklyn!”). The 31 year old Brown performed alongside Remy Charlip, Carolee Schneeman, Al Carmines, and Terry Riley, among others. It was an auspicious beginning to the long and fruitful relationship between Brown and BAM.

Over the years Brown has appeared on BAM’s stages regularly. For the inaugural Next Wave Festival in 1983, BAM presented the U.S. premiere of her seminal collaboration with Robert Rauschenberg and Laurie Anderson, Set and Reset, which is now part of the core curriculum in baccalaureate dance study in France, where Brown’s work has been warmly embraced. For the 1996 Next Wave, BAM presented the program Trisha Brown at 25: Postmodern and Beyond, a retrospective of her company’s work, with guest artists including Steve Paxton, Stephen Petronio, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Baryshnikov danced again for Brown in the Spring of 2000 for the White Oak Dance Project’s first program for BAM, which included one of Brown’s earliest pieces, the solo Homemade. It is a testament to Brown’s silken, hypnotic movement that one of history’s greatest dancers humbly inherited the role.

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