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Trisha Brown Company.

A prime progenitor of what we think of as postmodern dance--the swingy, released, breathy style of moving associated with the cutting edge of new dance--Trisha Brown makes dances that range dynamically from athletic to minutely nuanced. But what looks like seat-of-the-pants spontaneity is actually choreographed down to the fingertips. Each twitch and wiggle is virtually identical from performance to performance, and the unisons--of which there are many, as if to prove that the dancers are not improvising--are almost supernaturally precise in the hands of her well-tutored company. Temporarily abandoning City Center, its usual New York City venue, the company performed at the intimate Joyce Theater, and despite the infinite detail of much of the movement, the dances seemed too large for the Joyce to contain; they needed the vastness of an opera house to contain the resonances of their epic subtlety.

The livelier of two programs opened with Foray Foret ("Forest Foray"), full of the humor that marked Brown's earliest dances. We see her cartoonish sense of fun in the out-of-kilter emergence of dancers from the wings, leaning at gravity-defying angles or pitching headlong into invisible, cushioning hands as they exit. There's an amazing, daredevilish collision that changes a dancer's trajectory in midair, when she gets caught at the intersection of two others. Out of the silence we hear the music of a marching band from a great distance behind us, gradually growing louder as it approaches and encircles us, though presumably outside. (At the dance's premiere, in France, and in earlier engagements at City Center, the band was live, and actually marched around the theater in the streets outside.) The dance ends with a gracious solo by Brown in unison with eight dancers, whose movement is partially obscured in the wings, like multiple echoes.

And the kinetically spectacular 1991 Astral Converted (50") is a glorious revisiting of the movement of 1989's Astral Convertible; shimmery silver costumes amid a forest of chrome lighting racks, periodically shoved by dancers to new locations to change the illumination as well as to control the John Cage electronic music. The movement climaxes in an acrobatic revel of dancers rebounding off each other like giddy astronauts in on-the-fly lifts that achieve improbable heights, often parallel to the ground.

But Brown also wields the power of stillness with a master's hand. For M.G.: The Movie, dedicated to the late French Minister of Culture Michel Guy, a patron of the avant-garde, moves at the measured pace of an art house film, but with lots more going on. Etched in memory is Brown traversing glacially, then basking sensuously on her back, while Diane Madden lopes endlessly in loops around the stage. In Another Story as in falling the dancers navigate an inchingly slow walking pattern through a sea of elastic bands strung at shin level across the stage. The talented troupe that brings Brown's wonderful vision to life includes Liz Carpenter, Kathleen Fisher, Nicole Juralewicz, Kevin Kortan, Carolyn Lucas, Stanford Makishi, Kelly McDonald, Wil Swanson, Keith A. Thompson, and Madden.

But the most delicious offering is Brown's new solo If you couldn't see me--the first for herself in several years. It's a torrent of soft, slippery, unpredictable dancing that constantly reemphasizes the physics of momentum and rebound that her wondrous kinetic invention epitomizes. Facing upstage, she starts with simple arm gestures that erupt into a full-body barrage by softly powerful legs and a remarkably supple spine. Though she never shows her face, we become as intimately acquainted with this mysterious individual through her fluent motion as we would if we were looking through her eyes into her soul.
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Title Annotation:Joyce Theater, New York, New York
Author:Solomons, Jr., Gus
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Sep 1, 1994
Words:601
Previous Article:American Ballet Theatre.
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