Trisha Brown 1936 - 2017

It is with great sadness that we heard the news of the passing away of American choreographer Trisha Brown. 

"One of the most acclaimed and influential choreographers and dancers of her time, Trisha’s groundbreaking work forever changed the landscape of art. She was a core member of the Judson Dance Theater, greatly contributing to the fervent of interdisciplinary creativity that defined 1960s New York. Expanding the physical behaviors that qualified as dance, she discovered the extraordinary in the everyday. 

With the founding of the Trisha Brown Dance Company in 1970, Brown set off on her own distinctive path of artistic investigation and ceaseless experimentation, which extended for forty years. The creator of over 100 choreographies, six operas, and a graphic artist, whose drawings have earned recognition in numerous museum exhibitions and collections, Brown’s earliest works took impetus from the cityscape of downtown SoHo, where she was a pioneering settler, and presented her work in art galleries, museums and international exhibitions. Brown’s movement vocabulary remains one of her most pervasively impactful legacies within international dance practice. Brown became a master orchestrator of collaboration; she used her own body, language and images to elicit and catalyze her dancers’ improvisations, which she edited and structured as choreographies. A major turning point in Brown’s career occurred in 1979, when she transitioned to assume the role of a choreographer working on the proscenium stage. 

Brown’s best-loved work, the 1983 Set and Reset – a collaboration with Robert Rauschenberg and Laurie Anderson – brought Brown international fame. Brown pushed the limits of her dancers’ athleticism and stamina, elevating abstract dance to theatrical proportions.Lateer on, Brown entered new terrain, investigating ‘unconscious’ movement, while also bringing new inflections to her longstanding concern with themes of visibility and invisibility, as well as visual deflection. 

In the mid-1990s Brown set her sights on directing operas, among other Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in 1998, created for La Monnaie in Brussels. During the late 1990s and first decade of the 21st century, Brown worked simultaneously to create new choreographies working with contemporary artists and composers; directed operas; and further developed her work in the field of drawing." (Edit from the obituary by Susan Rosenberg on


For PARTS, Trisha Brown has always been a figure of enormous importance. When Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker conceived the school, Trisha Brown was one out of three choreographers she went to ask for advice. In the 22 years of existence of the school, her work has always been present, either directly through repertoire projects - many generations have recreated her seminal work Set and Reset, but also other pieces have been taught – or indirectly, through the strong presence of dance teachers who had danced with the Trisha Brown Company: first of all Lance Gries, but also many others. Her work will remain a cornerstone in the curriculum of future generations, thanks to an intensive collaboration with the current directors of the Company: Barbara Dufty (executive director), Diane Madden and Carloyn Lucas (Associate Artistic Directors). Trisha Brown’s vision of dance has and continues to mark generations of dancers educated in PARTS. 

Trisha Brown and Lance Gries - Getty Images