Set and Reset/Reset

Set and Reset/Reset by Trisha Brown Dance Company and Candoco Dance Company. Photograph: Hugo Glendinning, 2011

Trisha Brown

Trisha Brown Dance Company premiered Set and Reset in 1983 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City. It is the Company’s signature work and confirmed Trisha Brown as a leader of abstract choreography. For the creation of Set and Reset/Reset, Candoco Dance Company is an integral part of both the creative process and the end result. Former Trisha Brown Dance Company member Abigail Yager taught the Candoco Dance Company dancers exact sequences from the original choreography and later guided them in an extensive improvisation process whereby they used the same set of instructions that Brown gave to her Company in 1983: keep it simple, act on instinct, stay on the edge, work with visibility and invisibility, and get in line.

"The Set and Reset/Reset Project examines the shifting nature of choreography in relation to underlying structures that anchor a dance to itself. The process of re-construction (as opposed to replication) is a negotiation between freedom and limit – an exploration of possibility as the dancers create a new version of Trisha Brown’s landmark choreography".
- Abigail Yager (Trisha Brown Dance Company)

"Elegant, exciting and very playful"
- The Stage

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Set and Reset/Reset was first restaged in 2011, the 2016 restaging is a combination of the 2011 and the section company’s choreography.

Production Details

  • Year: 2016
  • Choreography of Set and Reset (1983): Trisha Brown
  • Direction of Set and Reset/Reset (2016): Abigail Yager
  • Set Design: David Lock (based on the original design by Robert Rauschenberg in 1983)
  • Lighting Design: Chahine Yavroyan
  • Costume Design: Celeste Dandeker-Arnold OBE (based on the original design by Robert Rauschenberg in 1983)
  • Music: Laurie Anderson (music used with kind permission from Canal Street Communications/Laurie Anderson Studio)
  • This piece is co-produced by: Migros Culture Percentage Dance Festival Steps
  • The original restaging in 2011 was co-commissioned by: Dance Umbrella 2011
  • Running Time: 25 minutes
  • Suitability: All ages

Set and Reset (1983):

Music: Laurie Anderson, Long Time No See

Visual Design and Costume: Robert Rauschenberg

Lighting: Beverly Emmons with Robert Rauschenberg

Original Cast: Trisha Brown, Irene Hultman, Eva Karczag, Diane Madden, Stephen Petronio, Vicky Shick, Randy Warshaw

New York Premiere: Fall 1983, BAM, Opera House, Next Wave Festival

World Premiere: October 20, 1983, Festivals of Montpellier and d’Avignon, La Chartreuse, France

Set and Reset is the Company’s signature work and confirmed Trisha Brown as a leader of abstract choreography.

Trisha Brown

>Set=scenography, Re-set=rescenography.

I was asked, at the time, to title the dance before it was choreographed. I was considering my earlier anti-gravitational dances, such as Walking on the Wall as the set, my background as the background. Robert Rauschenberg entered the project soon after. His initial idea for a set, uncannily, a living set. Bob uses the expression “visual presentation” for his work on my stage. The moving images of the slides and films have a random relationship to the specific events of the dance, however, simultaneity becomes interaction. It’s all one thing in the end.


Trisha Brown

Trisha Brown (Artistic Director and Choreographer) was born and raised in Aberdeen, Washington. She graduated from Mills College in 1958, studied with Anna Halprin and taught at Reed College in Portland before moving to New York City in 1961. Instantly immersed in what was to become the post-modern phenomena of Judson Dance Theater, her movement investigations found the extraordinary in the everyday and challenged existing perceptions of what constituted performance. In 1970, Ms. Brown formed her company and made the groundbreaking work, Man Walking Down the Side of a Building, one of many site-specific works created in, around and hovering over the streets and buildings of her SoHo neighborhood. Her first of many collaborations with Robert Rauschenberg, Glacial Decoy, premiered in 1979 followed by Set and Reset in 1983 with original music by Laurie Anderson.

Ms. Brown has created nearly 100 dance works since 1961 including several operas, including L’Orfeo and Pygmalion. As a visual artist, Ms. Brown’s drawings have been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions including Documenta 12 in Kasel, Germany (2007), as part of the Year of Trisha – a celebration of her entire body of work at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2008), Sikkema Jenkins Gallery (2009), and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2011.

Ms. Brown was the first woman choreographer to receive the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Other honors include the Brandeis University’s Creative Arts Medal in Dance, two John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships, a New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and the National Medal of Art. In 1994 she received the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award and she has been named a Veuve Cliquot Grand Dame. Ms. Brown was named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France in 1988, elevated to Officier in 2000 and to Commandeur in 2004. She served on the National Council on the Arts from 1994 to 1997. She has received numerous honorary doctorates and is an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ms. Brown’s visual art is represented by Sikkema Jenkins Gallery.

For more information on Trisha Brown Dance Company, please visit

Laurie Anderson (Composer)

One of America’s most renowned – and daring- creative pioneers. She is best known for her multimedia presentations and innovative use of technology. As writer, director, visual artist and vocalist she has created groundbreaking works that span the worlds of art, theater, and experimental music. Her recording career, launched by O Superman in 1981, includes the soundtrack to her feature film Home of the Brave and Life on a String (2001). Anderson’s live shows range from simple spoken word to elaborate multi-media stage performances such as Songs and Stories for Moby Dick (1999). Anderson has published seven books and her visual work has been presented in major museums around the world. In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA which culminated in her touring solo performance The End of the Moon. Recent projects include a series of audio-visual installations and a high definition film, Hidden Inside Mountains, created for World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. In 2007 she received the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for her outstanding contribution to the arts. She recently completed a two-year worldwide tour of her latest performance piece, Homeland, which will be released on Nonesuch Records this year.

Beverly Emmons (Lighting Designer)

Beverly designed for Broadway, Off Broadway and Regional Theater, Dance and Opera both in the USA and abroad. Her Broadway credits include Annie Get Your Gun, Jekyll & Hyde, The Heiress, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Stephen Sondheim’s Passion, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, High Rollers, Stepping Out, The Elephant Man, A Day In Hollywood A Night in the Ukraine, The Dresser, Piaf and Doonesbury. Her lighting of Amadeus won a Tony award. Off Broadway she lit Vagina Monologues and has designed many productions with Joseph Chaikin and Meredith Monk. For Robert Wilson, she has designed lighting for productions spanning 13 years, most notably in America, Einstein on the Beach and the Civil Wars Pt V. Ms Emmons’ designs for dance have included works for Trisha Brown, Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. She has been awarded seven Tony nominations, the 1976 Lumen award, 1984 and 1986 Bessies, and a 1980 Obie for Distinguished Lighting, and several Maharam/American Theater Wing Design Awards.

Robert Rauschenberg (Visual Artist and Designer)

Robert was born in Port Arthur, TX, and began his formal art education at Black Mountain College, following his discharge from the United States Navy in 1945. In 1949, he moved to New York and in 1951 received his first solo exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery. Mr. Rauschenberg’s first one-artist exhibition was held in 1963 at the Jewish Museum in New York. He received the Grand Prize for Painting at the Venice Biennale the following year. He has worked in the performing arts since the 1960’s as a set, costume, and lighting designer for various dance companies. A mid-career retrospective was mounted in 1976 at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, when Mr. Rauschenberg was selected to honor the American Bicentennial. Between 1984-1991, he was actively engaged in Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI), a tangible expression of his belief in the power of art to bring about social change on an international level, and the culmination of his long-term commitment to human rights. A major retrospective exhibition celebrating his work was offered by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1997. Throughout his life Mr. Rauschenberg approached his art with a spirit of invention and with a quest for new materials, technologies, and ideas.