Be a Part of It: Trisha Brown Dance

Do you have a Valentine yet? How about a date with history, and a little vertigo?


On February 13th and 14th the Trisha Brown Dance Company returns to Dia:Beacon for another set of gallery performances. The troupe has asked for 20 volunteers to help with the recreation of Brown’s 1974 work, “Spiral,” which will take place in the cavernous, spooky Beacon basement. The piece is simple and genius: with the help of a ladder, harness and rope, a dancer walks down and around a pillar, parallel to the ground.

Volunteers are needed to help place and move the ladders. These magical events tend to sell out, and finding a good view can be tricky. Well, there’s no better view than the bottom of the pillar.

What’s it like to defy gravity? I asked Brown alumnus Stanford Makishi, the Baryshnikov Arts Center’s executive director, who performed “Spiral” a few years ago:

CLR: Any advice for newbies?

SM: Have fun. But the execution of it, in front of an audience, has to be treated like any other real performance.

CLR: Is it at all terrifying?

SM: (laughs) Like getting on a rollercoaster, there was that tiny bit of doubt, that something is going to fail. It’s not that far too fall, but it’s a concrete floor. But it was comforting, Trisha Brown was right there underneath me. I remember looking down at her; her mouth was slightly open, with I think a certain delight and wonder, just looking up. Then when we started to go I remember her laughing. It was very sweet.

Watch the video to see Brown taking full advantage of SoHo real estate (which she likened to the Wild West), decades before Apple or Prada ever came calling. The building-scaling begins at about a minute in.

Want to stand where Trisha Brown stood for a few days? The volunteer deadline is January 27. Call (845) 440-0100 for full details.