Sunday, February 3, 2013

Trisha Brown's "Les Yeux et l'âme" at BAM

The Trisha Brown Dance Company marked the end of an era with its just-closed season at Brooklyn Academy of Music and the poignant announcement of Brown's retirement from dance-making and from directing her exemplary troupe. I'm heartened to learn that the company, replenished with a few new performers, will soldier on; there are no plans to disband. Moreover, new associate artistic directors Diane Madden and Carolyn Lucas plan to introduce new ways to extend the company's reach, thereby extending the reach of dance and all its goodness. (If I could sit some dance newbies down in front of Brown's performers--the way some co-workers once sat me down in front of the Yankees in the 1970s--I know I could get some converts. Baseball is freaking fantastic, and so is the art of dance!) I'm glad to have made it to see, in particular, Les Yeux et l'âme (The eyes and the soul) at BAM, performed by Neal Beasley, Tara Lorenzen, Megan Madorin, Leah Morrison, Tamara Riewe, Jamie Scott, Stuart Shugg, Nicholas Strafaccia and Samuel Wentz. (Morrison addresses each job with breathtaking stylishness that signals awareness and ownership of every millimeter of placement and movement; Riewe moves with the force of joy.)  Developed from Brown's 2010 opera, Pygmalion, and set to the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau, Les Yeux demonstrates the possible coexistence of gentle cool and sensuality, of airy openness within a rigorous framework, of smart with heart. I find its separate and attached partnerings a kind of tango of visual and gender balance. Geometry, physics--all rendered sexy through the mind of Trisha Brown. My eyes and soul delight in the work of those eyes and soul.

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