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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Dancer's Perspective: Tamara Riewe of Trisha Brown Dance Company

by Tamara Riewe

Tamara (center) in I'm Going to Toss My Arms... Photo: Laurent Phillippe

The week of shows is upon us, our days of padding barefoot into the office kitchen to increase the line for the microwave are numbered. The office staff at BAM have been incredibly welcoming, kindly averting their eyes from our damp, rumpled rehearsal clothes as we inevitably corner them in the small yellow room, admiring their chic outfits and artfully tousled hair.

For the last month-and-a-half my company has rehearsed in the Attic Studio of the opera house in preparation for this show. Performing in New York City is always a big deal; the stakes feel higher here at home, with teachers, peers, students, and friends swelling the audience. This January marks my seventh year in the company, so I've had the pleasure/terror of performing at BAM before. I can still taste the sheer exuberance of dancing Glacial Decoy: the vast stage inviting us to take wing in our billowing white dresses, daring our limbs to devour the space as if chasing Rauschenberg's flitting photographs into infinity. To be perfectly honest, part of me had wanted to pull a George Costanza and leave on that high note, but plans were made to be broken. Especially when one has the chance to be a part of dance history: dancing the final creations of a choreographer as intriguing and lauded as Trisha Brown in a theater as storied and celebrated as BAM.

The four pieces to be performed this week up the ante to precarious new heights: the burly, bad-ass Newark from 1987, sandwiched between the opera-based Les Yeux et L'âme, and the latest, epically titled I'm Going to Toss My Arms— If You Catch Them, They're Yours. All of us in the company are looking forward to the welcome breathing break that Homemade will provide, though I guarantee that we'll be gulping air from the wings, unwilling to miss the phenomenal Vicky Schick, strapped with camera, dance Trisha's solo.

To perform at BAM is an opportunity that goes far beyond cozy kitchens and that gorgeously tiled lobby. As a visiting artist, I've found it inspiring to walk among the individuals who make this organization possible on every level. From the mysterious pianist bringing Satie alive in the café, to the hospitality gracefully extended from office to backstage, I am grateful to have shared BAM with everyone during this time. Thanks for helping to bring us to the stage—we will rock it in your collective honor!

Tamara Riewe earned a BFA in modern dance from the University of Utah. Before joining Trisha Brown Dance Company in 2006, she danced with Bill Young/Colleen Thomas and Doug Varone at the Met Opera, among others.

More on Trisha Brown:


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