In the Steps of Trisha Brown
Dir. Marie-Hélène Rebois, France/US, 2016, DCP, 79 min.
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
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.