Week 9: Trisha Brown/Stephen Petronio

This week we will explore the work of Trisha Brown and its relationship and lineage to Stephen Petronio’s. The Petronio Company will teach a master class on Friday and Stephen will give a lecture at 3:00 that same day. You are all required to see Underland on Saturday at Alverno and your response paper is due on Nov. 11.

Here is a link to Petronio:



4 thoughts on “Week 9: Trisha Brown/Stephen Petronio

  1. After researching Trisha Brown last semester, it really was a pleasure to learn some of her work in class. At the same time, it was such a challenge! The specificity of her movement is incredible, and yet, there is something so simple about it as well. Her dancers really do appear as though they are “moving from their bones.” Everything is fluid and seems effortless, but it is deceivingly difficult and still so exciting. Now that takes some skill…

    Corresponding with that, it was amazing to take a class from Stephen Petronio and his company members. During the warm-up, I felt like I actually understood what he was asking for because we had discussed these concepts in class. I felt prepared and knowledgeable, something that isn’t always true when big guest artists come. I am grateful that we’ve been given the opportunity to learn and explore the lineage of this movement vocabulary. It increases my understanding and gives me the tools to pick-up on things, whether concepts or physical movements, faster.

    And finally, the concert on Saturday night was a great way to end the week. To be able to see his dancers and even to see the small movement phrase we had learned in class the previous day, was so valuable. As I do have to write a paper about this, I won’t write too much more here, but I think it is worth pointing out how connected the dancers were (like…ridiculously connected) and how clear they were with their intent. They kept me engaged the entire time, and I hope I get to see the company again someday.

  2. I have to completely agree with Kimmy! Everything we have worked on this semester has helped me to grow as a dancer immensely. Seeing Stephen Petronio, his dancers and his show this weekend has inspired me more than ever as well. You could see so clearly their lines, movement vocabulary and their level of mastery when it comes to material we have worked on in class. Seeing this was not only a treat, but also a repetition of the valuable information we have learned so far.

  3. I also found Stephen Petronio’s show this weekend incredibly inspiring, as well as, revealing of my own dancing. I found myself wondering how the dancers could accomplish such “super human” tasks without losing clarity. They didn’t give into the tension or the free-ness too much, and from my point of view, rarely were extra/unnecessary muscles used. By stripping away the unnecessary, as was continuously done through the dance, the audience is only left with the essence (in Beth Corning’s words) of the movement and theme.

    Seeing this company perform told me a lot about my personal aesthetic, and possibly a lot about what is naturally pleasing to an audience. I really enjoy an efficient dancer. Stephen Petronio made a point to say in our last class, that he created no movement without purpose. If there were arms moving, they helped the dancer get to the next point in space, or to aid them with a jump. By using the movement as a tool, the dance became even more efficient and enjoyable to watch.

  4. Throughout studying years of dance and seeing many performances, it is remarkable to suddenly see dance again in a new light; a better light; a refreshing light. Having master class with the Petronio Company last week, listening to Stephen speak of work, and seeing the company onstage at Alverno reaffirmed for me why I love this art form as I do.

    For starters, our glimpse into Trisha’s work and the style of movement was a great introduction to what was in store for the master class. Throughout the work and warmups we have been learning this semester combined with highlighted artists to learn about, I felt very much prepared and aware when the Petronio company came in. It was an exciting privilege to meet Stephen and Amanda and learn from them a shred of their great understanding of dance. It was also nice to simply be in close space with them and experience their personalities as teachers as well.

    Alongside the class, hearing Stephen read excerpts from his book was humbling surprise. To hear someone reflect on their life, starkly, personally without any facade and share with you is honorable. It also makes him relatable to ourselves, which is assuring when you admire someone and their work. Witnessing Stephen Petronio talking about dance say, “you must make rules. use them. and break the rules,” is something I will never forget.

    Last, but most definitely not least, seeing Underland on Saturday was the perfect conclusion to the week. It is by the far the best show I have seen in a while. The company’s dancers, movement, quality, and choreography all fall under the personal preferences of mine. The fluidity, attack, focus and character of the performers were all things I wish to encompass. The show was stunning and inspirational, and something I will never forget.

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