Choreographer Trisha Brown revolutionized the world of contemporary dance. Now, her seminal 1979 work Glacial Decoy, with costumes and projected slides by the similarly risk-taking artist Robert Rauschenberg, is coming to Paris, to be performed by a new generation of dancers. IN THE STEPS OF TRISHA BROWN takes us behind the scenes in the weeks leading up to the first performance.
Brown's work is so complex that it resists standard dance notation, so carrying on her legacy by teaching the surprising, challenging piece to the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet are Lisa Kraus, re-stager and former dancer with Trisha Brown Dance Company who helped create the original production of Glacial Decoy and danced in it, and Carolyn Lucas, Associate Artistic Director of the Trisha Brown Dance Company.
Brown's choreography emphasizes the relationship of bodies with gravity, a near-boneless-seeming fluidity, and working close to the ground—qualities that may not come naturally to classically-trained dancers. Kraus in particular serves as a bridge between Brown and the young dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. She not only instructs the troupe, but also teaches them the history of Brown's work, illustrating the way that earlier projects such as Man Walking Down the Side of a Building (1970), Leaning Piece (1970), Roof Piece (1971) and Walking on the Wall (1971) were precursors to Glacial Decoy.
Interspersed with fascinating, little-seen archival footage from original productions and of Brown herself in rehearsal, IN THE STEPS OF TRISHA BROWN is both a testament to the value of teaching and studying art and dance, and a privileged look at the process of staging a major dance piece.
"[Lisa] Kraus, with fellow teacher Carolyn Lucas, is a disciple of Brown’s school of dance, and her centrality to Rebois’s film gives it its infectious, unpretentious, accessible likeability. Rebois matches her methods with an observational eye that is equally unpretentious, allowing the repeated rhythms of the dancers’ movements to reveal themselves in long, uninterrupted sequences shot from the corner of the room." —Michael Pattison, British Film Institute (BFI)
North American Premiere, Dance on Camera, Film Society of Lincoln Center
West Coast Premiere, Dance Camera West
Jury Prize, FIFA Montreal Festival of Films on Art
Special Presentation, BAMcinématek
2017 International Films on Art Festival, The Louvre Museum
2016 FID Marseille Documentary Film Festival
2016 Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival
2016 DocLisboa Documentary Film Festival
"Documents the painstaking process of reconstructing the dance and transmitting it from one group of performers to another. A 35-year-old video and the muscle memory and eloquence of dancers Lisa Kraus and Carolyn Lucas contribute to this invaluable record." —Elizabeth Zimmer, The Village Voice
"Necessary viewing! Watching Paris Opera Ballet dancers do anything is a treat, but seeing them progress from semi-awkwardly trying to drop their weight to laughing as they purposefully fall off balance to executing Brown's work seamlessly is amazing." —Courtney Escoyne, Dance Magazine