Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Happy Holidays! Trisha Brown repertory at The Joyce

Trisha Brown Dance Company in
Brown's Groove and CountermoveBelow: Geometry of Quiet
(photos: Stephanie Berger)

Imagine The Joyce Theater, or some other lucky venue, making Trisha Brown Dance Company an annual holiday-time tradition! Works like what the Joyce has aqcuired for this season--L’Amour au Théâtre, 2009; Geometry of Quiet, 2002; Groove and Countermove, 2002--possess both the late choreographer's postmodern-pioneer cred and her luscious, eye-pleasing appeal in a time when we all could use some reassurance and soothing. I can easily foresee a future in which Ailey and the usual Nutcrackers share the bounty of the holiday season with TBDC, now under the leadership of Carolyn Lucas and Diane Madden.

This is work, too, that might aspire to heal the desperate rawness we feel now across the spectrum of gender. The dances persist in showing egalitarian interactions between and among bodies. L’Amour au Théâtre, set to excerpts from Rameau's opera, Hippolyte et Aricie, is particularly good with this as gender never determines who will grasp, lift and support whom. Brown seems to advise, "Just do the next thing that needs doing." Bodies quietly, efficiently align themselves to be as ready and humbly useful as possible, no one more powerful than another in an unpredictable landscape they create and re-create by their moving. No one flies tremendously high, literally or figuratively. One's virtuosity--if we choose to call it that--lies in the ability to go all quicksilver fluid and responsive in that space between heaven and gravity.

A duet of two women opens Geometry of Quiet, a quartet set to music by Salvatore Sciarrino, taking a different route to the same locale. The music--played live by flutist Sato Moughalian stationed at stage left--breathes, but it can also bark. Leah Ives and Amanda Kmett'Pendry, gleaming in white, each stretch out, front and back, from one firmly-grounded standing leg, a picturesque image. But they end up clasping each other like jigsaw pieces with only as much individuality to be able to fit and lock together perfectly. No surprise that Groove and Countermove's dancers, in their Crayola array of costumes, seem like drawing implements in the hand of a smart, happy child. Brown's choreography invites us to focus, breathe, be flexible, be surprised, take pleasure in the unending doing and discovering.

Trisha Brown Dance Company runs through Sunday, December 17. Tonight's program includes a "curtain chat" moderated by Wendy Perron, dance writer, educator and former Trisha Brown dancer. For schedule information and tickets, click here.

The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at 19th Street), Manhattan

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