Seeing Trisha Brown Dance Company (TBDC) at NYLA (April 8) since last December’s announcement that she would no longer make dances (her last two were Les Yeux et l’ame (the eyes and the soul), and I’m going to toss my arms—if you catch them they’re yours), was a pleasure. The announcement came during their season at BAM, the all-time favorite Set and Rest (1983) was also on the bill. Diane Madden (associate artistic director) now runs the company and is a main fixture that has danced, directed, taught and reconstructed works for TBDC since 1980. For the NYLA season, as part of the company’s three-year (2015-2015) “Proscenium Works” tour to stage major works, four were presented: Rogues (2011), Opal Loop/Cloud Installation #72503 (1980), Solo Olos (1976) and Son of Gone Fishin’ (1981). It would be unfair to say that this was simply a nostalgic ride; this was more than that, this was a fine performance of beautiful dancing and equally beautiful works. The dancers, Neal Beasley, Cecily Campbell, Elena Demyanenko, Tara Lorenzen, Megan Madorin, Tamara Riewe, Jamie Scott, Stuart Shugg, Nicholas Strafaccia and Samuel Wentz were solid from beginning to end. Shugg and Strafaccia in Rogues offered up a series of give-and-take partnering that could have gone on forever; the careful placement of each body part and their attention to flow are just two examples. Opal Loop/Cloud Installation #72503 with the quartet Demyanenko, Riewe, Strafaccia and Wentz moved around, but most times were part of the smoky design by Fujiko Nakaya. As smoky figures they billow in, out and around each other with a combination of gestures and joint-driven movement that begin close to the torso and explode out through their fingers and toes, meeting eyes here and there sometimes with a smile. There is one “Caller” and four dancers in Solo Olos, (Madorin was the “Caller,” the dancers were Beasley, Campbell, Lorenzen, Scott, Shugg and Strafaccia (they rotate positions each night). Madorin begins with the group, but then sits in the audience to call out impromptu directions based on already established sequences that the others take on with ease. The unexpected weaving and always-changing patterns are pretty cool, but this was complicated stuff. Son of Gone Fishin’ was a foray into more of Brown’s very complicated movement structure, again, danced with ease. Here there are six (Campbell, Lorenzen, Madorin, Riewe, Scott, Shugg and Strafaccia) ostensibly moving independently, but every so often there are bursts of matching leaps, or getting together for a duet. TBDC is back, they are strong and that’s a good thing!
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a faculty member at Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member of The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."