Trisha Brown

Walking on the Wall (1971)

  • Trying to make the unnatural, the difficult and challenging appear as natural and as fluid as possible.

  • The task, therefore, is simply to achieve normality.

  • Requires impeccable balance - any loss of balance would break the illusion (the illusion being that they are walking across a floor, not a ceiling.

  • As performance becomes more relaxed, we begin to question : what is upright and what is not upright? Where are we viewing from?

  • Being lifted off the ground, being suspended allows for a consistent bounce in their step.

  • Achieving a maintained pace that allows for this balance. Difficult to imagine, especially to sustain the right pace while you are stood perpendicular to the wall.

  • Being able to walk upwards as well as downwards.

  • New wall - crossing into a completely new kind of space - a new dimension. Conditions have to change.

Primary Accumulation (1972)

  • Gradually and delicately testing out the capabilities of the body.

  • Covering the basic areas. Head and neck. Both arms. Then bottom area of the legs.

  • Symmetry and asymmetry. Sometimes only one side moves and sometimes both.

  • Repeated sequence. Rolling over and over again.

  • Birds-eye view. Some movements don’t actually fit within the frame.

  • Just the right amount of effort before it actually requires any effort.

  • Facing upwards for the whole duration except one movement which involves rolling over, touching her foot with her hand, and then rolling back over.

  • Same sequence with slight changes? Slightly different combinations of the same movements?

  • Improvised or rehearsed? Perhaps the movements have been previously decided on and rehearsed, but the combinations are being made up as she goes along.

Watermotor (1978)

  • Cruising between movements, between moments.

  • Body parts echo other body parts somehow. They mirror each other despite their physical differences.

  • Tension between intense control and a complete lack of control.

  • Momentum of her movements moving her back and forth between various edges of the room - each movements decides where the next movement will be executed.

  • How can something so physically and dynamically complex be memorised.

  • Moving towards a point - performing it at this point. So the dance is about the transitions as well as the actual movements.

  • Sporadic but amazingly controlled.

  • Extending, elongating. Interacting with the space above her and the space below her. Pushing the ceiling to the floor and the floor to the ceiling. Motion of picking something up and taking it somewhere else.

  • Regular movements of the hands and the wrists make the whole performance seem detailed and intricate.

Leaning Duets (1970)

  • Pairs of individuals holding onto one another and leaning to the side, so that they are equally balanced.

  • Having to adjust to one another, weight - understanding the body of our partner.

  • One falls - the other has to recover the situation. Move their body in a way that makes up for the loss of the other.

  • Walking alongside each other in this leaning position. Feet touching.

  • Having to gain balance and then rebalance after each step.

  • Collapse of one - collapse of the other.

  • Having to make themselves heavy - having to hold their bodies in a way which may give them more weight.

  • Some pairs obviously more compatible than others - this is up to complete chance. This compatibility cannot be known until experimentation has taken place.

  • Being forced to wave arms and legs in order to restore their previous position.

  • Group activity that is really really funny in its simplicity.

  • STREET SETTING - domestic. Another way of bringing to work close to home.

  • A way of challenging the body which will always result in some kind of fall, a casualty.

  • Your stability relying on that of the other and vice versa.

The fundamental aspect of Brown’s choreography and practice seems to be the everyday because for me, throughout her routines, it is often unclear where the everyday movement ends and where the dance begins. Perhaps it is important that the two are not distinguished from one another, that a continuity is developed. There is a potent sense that these routines (the solo routines) couldn’t be performed by anybody else, that they are being guided completely by the self. She cannot possibly be guided by anything other than herself because the structure of each performance, and the inception of each movement lives within her. The format of each performance seems to occur as she is going along, a structure is being formulated as she moves. There is a constant tension, a battle between loose and unbound movement of the limbs and complete and utter control. Each body part is heavily involved, it feels as though the whole body is very present as a whole, each intricacy working as one. Each movement feeds and fuels the next, movement never stops, each dance is interconnected to the last one and the next one. Whilst watching Brown's choreography, I have become occupied thinking out the possibility of notating the commonplace, the ordinary, finding a way to score such naturalistic and familiar methods and moving through space - something Brown seems to have achieved in each of her pieces, performed by herself and by others.