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 was an integral part of both the creative process and the end result. In 2011 and 2016 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.
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.
Elegant, exciting and very playful.
The ebb and flow of movement, so crisply and fluidly achieved, is beautiful to watch; and the fact that it is being delivered by a group that includes wheelchair-bound dancers and others with physical disabilities is soon overlooked as one becomes entranced by the quality of their performance. Here are seven performers who make the term “inclusive” appear to be redundant… It was a brave choice in 2011 and it still works so well on these dancers that it ought to become Candoco’s signature piece.
Choreography of Set Reset (1983)
Direction of Set Reset/ Reset (2016)
David Lock (based on the original design by Robert Rauschenberg in 1983)
Celeste Dandeker-Arnold OBE (based on the original design by Robert Rauschenberg in 1983)
Mirjam Gurtner, Dan Daw, Chris Owen, Darren Anderson, Victoria Malin, Elinor Baker, Annie Hanauer
Music with kind permission by
Laurie Anderson (Canal Street Communications/Laurie Anderson Studio)
Migros Culture Percentage Dance Festival Steps
Original restaging co-commissioned by
Dance Umbrella 2011