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Farewell Trisha Brown
Choreographer Trisha Brown, icon of American post-modern dance, passed away last March
aged 80. She was certainly one of the most famous and influential American dancemakers
of her era, starting off as a representative of the New York avant-garde and going on to
become an “institutional” figure – so to speak – on the international scene.
Her researching spirit was influenced by the New York workshops (based on John Cage
principles) of musician/choreographer Robert Ellis Dunn and by the milieu of the Judson
Church Theater which Brown herself founded in 1962 together with other artists who were,
like herself, driven by innovative and experimental aims, often tied to improvisation. Thus
for example, between 1962 and 1974, her cycle of works “Equipment Pieces” that showed
an interest in simple everyday actions such as walking, stopping, getting up or getting dressed,
brought dance to public venues (parks, museums, rooftops). Brown used to work on the
concepts of weight, verticality, speed: for example, in Planes (1968) her dancers danced
vertically on a wall thanks to holes to support their hands and feet, thereby giving the
impression of weightlessness. Accumulation and repetition of movement were other sta-
ples of her Early Works, or studies in choreography, that continued to be revived through-
out her career insofar as representative of a key phase in post-modern dance.
During the subsequent phase, from the end of the 1970s and during her 1980s heyday, her
stage creations were characterised by top-notch collaborations with visual artists and musi-
cians: Glacial Decoy (1979, with Robert Rauschenberg), Opal Loop (1980), Son of Gone
Fishing (1981) and Newark (1987) are the names of some of her more famous works during
this period, along with Set and Reset to music by Laurie Anderson (1983, also with sets by
Rauschenberg) which is probably, together with Glacial Decoy, her most famous work,
emblematic of the rigour and purity of invention that became a hallmark of Trisha Brown’s
dance.
Trisha Brown (ph. L. Philippe)
In Europe Trisha Brown and her company were particularly popular and influential in France
where she worked, among others, at the Centre National de la Danse Contemporaine in
Angers, a French “nouvelle danse”hub, and even at the Paris Opéra (of note was her crea-
tion O zlozony/ O composite for the Parisian troupe in 2004).

grammes. The inauguration programme is Cuba: the former was Alicia Alonso’s pièce
dedicated to the living legend of Cuban bal- de résistance (she was one of the most fa- Creations in Zurich
let and director of the company, Alicia mous Giselles of all times) while the latter Last March the Zurich Opera Ballet (Swit-
Alonso; two classics, Giselle and Don features a technical vivacity that allows the zerland) presented a programme compris-
Quixote are also on offer. These two ballets Cuban dancers to show off their famous vir- ing creations by Swiss choreographer
are strongly-linked to the National Ballet of tuosity. Benoît Favre and Portugues Filipe Portu-
gal (both dance with the company) and
which is to be revived in June. Portugal
Zurich Ballet: “Maraschino Cherries”, c. Cayetano Soto (ph. G. Batardon) will also be presenting another creation of
his in May, coupled with a creation by 40-
year-old English choreographer Douglas
Lee who came to the fore at the Stuttgart
Ballet (where he was also a principal) and
now boasts a solid international career as a
dancemaker.

Fairs
The Parisian salon
Salon Let’s Dance is a dance fair that took
place in Paris, for the second time, last
March. Founded and directed by Paul
Vaudeville, it brings together companies as
well courses and shows/programmes. Here
are some figures relating to this recent edi-
tion: 35 exhibitors, 54 dance schools, 50
courses and master classes, 50 shows and
more than 8,500 followers who took part
in the activities. Of note, also a competi-
tion for young dancers: the Grand Prix de
Paris which this year was won by Japa-
nese Japonais Gento Yoshimoto.

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