Set and Reset by Trisha Brown

Trisha Brown,The Tanks,Tate Modern

With Laurie Anderson, Beverly Emmons and Robert Rauschenberg

A major free installation in the Tanks reconceiving Trisha Brown’s ground-breaking postmodern dance Set and Reset 1983.

In 1983 Trisha Brown premiered her new dance Set and Reset at Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, which went on to transform dance history. It signalled a shift in Brown’s practice, where her fluid yet idiosyncratic dance style was developed into a multi-layered choreographic structure, rooted in a process of memorised improvisation. Set and Reset was also a testament to collaboration, with music by Laurie Anderson, stage set and costumes by Robert Rauschenberg, and lighting by Beverly Emmons.

This display reconceives Set and Reset as an installation. It features the music and stage set, documentation of a performance, and Brown’s rarely seen videotapes that show her building and rehearsing the choreography with her dancers. Her early experiments in memorising improvised movement can be seen in Babette Mangolte’s film Trisha Brown WATER MOTOR 1978. As part of the display, there are live performances by two London-based dance companies – Candoco and Rambert.

In the 1960s, Trisha Brown was one of a generation of significant dancers and choreographers in downtown New York who wanted to connect dance with everyday life. They thought dance should not just be about virtuosity, defying gravity and executing technically difficult steps. Alongside Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton and others, Brown added walking, running and falling to the repertoire of movement. Many of these motifs appear in Set and Reset, where Brown forms a symbiosis between the vertical and horizontal lines of the body and the rectangularity of the stage. Phrases and gestures are allowed to shift and circulate between bodies and time registers, as the dancers perform Brown’s choreography with the same ecstatic, fluid, and surprising spirit of improvisation.

The layering, repetition and reproduction of motifs continue in Anderson’s pulsating score Long Time No See, Rauschenberg’s floating stage set/sculpture Elastic Carrier (Shiner) and costumes featuring screen printed photographs, and Emmons’s lighting design. For Brown, the project was defined by ‘metamorphic relationships; relationships between figures both plastic and organic, about space, both physical and aural.’


Set and Reset by Trisha Brown: with Rambert – Twice daily from 12 – 14 March 2022

From 12–14 March 2022, London-based dance company Rambert will perform Set and Reset within the installation at Tate Modern, marking the first time that dancers outside of the Trisha Brown Dance Company have been allowed to perform the 1983 iteration of the work. Alongside the original score, lighting, sets and costumes, Rambert will showcase the fluid and unpredictable style of the original choreography.

Set and Reset / Reset: with Candoco Dance Company Twice daily from 19 – 22 March 2022

The following week, from 19–21 March 2022, Candoco Dance Company will perform Set and Reset/Reset, a radical reconstruction of Brown’s original choreography fused with the dancers’ own impulses and instincts. Candoco is one of the world’s leading contemporary dance companies that seeks to expand and challenge the perceptions of what dance can be. Through its company of disabled and non-disabled dancers, Candoco continually pushes the boundaries of dance, creating distinctive performances and far-reaching learning experiences. A seminal work in its repertoire, Set and Reset/Reset has been performed by the company to audiences across the world for over ten years.

In collaboration with Trisha Brown Dance Company, Tate will also present Set and Reset/Unset, a series of informal performances that will provide a rare insight into the core principles and processes that Brown used to create her choreography. Taking place within the installation across multiple dates between March and August 2022, these free events will build upon Trisha Brown’s own history of combining spoken-word with movement and delivering lectures about her process while her dancers performed on stage.

Tickets for performances will go on presale to Tate Members on 19 January and general sale will open on 21 January

Duration 24 January 2022 - 04 September 2022
Times daily 10.00 – 18.00, performances various
Cost Free - advance booking required for performances
Venue Tate Modern
Address Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
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