Sunday, June 19, 2011

'Roof Piece' by Trisha Brown

A little over a week ago, I went to the Highline to see Trisha Brown's recreation of her 1971 work, 'Roof Piece'. I am not a dancer (sad to say) and was only introduced to her work a year ago in an experimental dance class I took at NYU. Knowing that she was/is a huge part of dance history, especially in the downtown New York art scene, I was excited to finally witness her work. I decided to do little research on her 1971 piece and go see the current recreation of it as is. The title gives away the location, but not much more.

(What's in a title?)

My friend and I arrived at the Highline approximately 5 minutes before the expected showtime. It was pouring and I was curious to see how the dancers would incorporate the rain into the piece or if the piece would be cancelled altogether. Just then, as in an almost divine intervention, the rain stopped. 10 dancers were placed on various roofs in the Chelsea neighborhood. The dancers all wore red, which was an interesting color choice, but also very utilitarian in that it aided the audience in increased visibility in the darkening sunlight. Most of the dancers were visible from anywhere on the Highline, but some of them needed to be found, hidden away like obscure objects. The dance commenced and my eyes couldn't focus on one dancer. The improvisations bounced off each dancer, informing the other. The dancers similar movement was interesting in that the movements reminded me of labor- the mechanization of movements in capitalism. An odd reading, I must admit, but with all the bodies doing the same thing, and doing it in such a way where movement, rather than emotion was at the forefront of the piece, this is what entered my mind. The piece was only 30 minutes, a perfect amount of time for such an improvisation. The bodies flowing movement, against the landscape of the hard, concrete city and beautiful New York skyline created a wondrous moment of beauty. Freedom. To be dancing on the rooftops of Manhattan!

Body v. Concrete
A molding of
an added
of living, breathing

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