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By John Benson, The News Herald  |  March 07, 2014

Trisha Brown Dance Company to celebrate choreographer's work with PlayhouseSquare show

In many ways, dance innovator Trisha Brown has led a double life. Relatively unknown outside of the dance world in America, Brown is revered internationally on a larger stage as one of the most remarkable choreographers of the past century.

Someone who has experienced Brown's genius is Diane Madden, a former dancer who now is associate artistic director of the Trisha Brown Dance Company.

"Both having danced it and having directed it and basically being on the inside of it and outside of it, I feel that there's this combination of a real rigor in her thinking, her approach, in the structures that she's building," said Brown, calling from New York City. "And at the same time, there's a playfulness and a spiritedness and a humanity that I feel is transcendent."

Over the last 50-plus years, Brown, 77, has created more than 100 dance works. At first she immersed herself in the post-modern phenomena of Judson Dance Theater

before pushing the limits of choreography by creating early dances for alternative spaces, such as rooftops and walls.

Furthermore, she collaborated with visual artists such as Rauschenberg, Fujiko Nakaya, Donald Judd and Elizabeth Murray, as well as modern composers Laurie Anderson, Dave Douglas and Alvin Curran.

In an effort to keep her work and name alive, the Trisha Brown Dance Company comes to Northeast Ohio for a performance March 9 at the Ohio Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. Part of its final main stage tour, the company will present "Proscenium Works, 1979-2011." The performance will showcase for one last time the major works of the legendary choreographer in their original theatrical contexts.

The program for the evening includes dances from three decades of Brown's career: "Set and Reset," created in 1983, is choreographed to music by Laurie Anderson, with sets by renowned visual artist Robert Rauschenberg; 1994's "If You Couldn't See Me" is a solo that Brown created for herself, with sets and music by Rauschenberg; and 2011's "Les Yeux et l'aime," from 2011, is set to Jean-Philippe Rameau's "Pygmalion."

Brown has taken the title of founding artistic director and choreographer of the Trisha Brown Dance Company, which has plans to go forward to present the choreographer's masterworks in both site-specific and museum contexts.

That's why "Proscenium Works, 1979-2011" is billed as being something special that won't be back again.

"There's going to be a time where that won't be the focus of the company's performance works," Madden said. "There are dances that Trisha choreographed that were intricately connected to a set design, a proscenium-trained concept, and we wanted to make sure that we get those works out there and viewed.

"Then moving on, when we're not in this same structure as a touring dance company and we're focusing more on education projects and specific work, we'll feel like we've done our job exposing Trisha stage work."


What: Trisha Brown Dance Company's "Proscenium Works, 1979-2011,"

When: 8 p.m. March 8.

Where: PlayhouseSquare's Ohio Theatre, 1511 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.

Tickets: Starting at $20.

Info: 216-241-6000, 866-546-1353 or

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