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Culture

Dancer Trisha Brown dead at 80

Dancer and choreographer Trisha Brown, whose groundbreaking work blurred the line between dance and visual art, has died.

Famed US dancer and choreographer Trisha Brown, known for her groundbreaking work that blurred the line between dance and visual art, has died in Texas at the age of 80.

With influences ranging from avant-garde music to molecular biology, Brown pioneered a new approach to ballet that strayed from the classical traditions of ballet, which were rather rigid in appearance and expression. Using objects from everyday life as props, Brown was said to have been heavily influenced by experimental musician John Cage and collaborated with other artists, including composer Laurie Anderson and painter Robert Rauschenberg to create works of art that defied categorization.

In 1970, she founded the Trisha Brown Dance Company and went on to create more than 100 dance works and six operas. Brown's dancers were renowned for being wildly innovative. In the deceptively simple "Man Walking Down the Side of a Building," a dancer goes out as if on a stroll but descends at a 90-degree angle from the rooftop, using harnesses and ropes to challenge the concept of gravity.

Dancers attached to a frame (Trisha Brown Foto Katrin Schilling/ documenta GmbH)

Floor of the Forest, a 1970 installation as seen at Documenta 12

 "I will do anything to get a good dance, invent new methods, employ trickery, endure experimentation - basically, I create new phrases on them or me or somewhere in between," Brown said in an interview with "Bomb" magazine.

Brown continued dancing even late into life, with a performance in 2007 at the age of 70 with Japanese artist Kenjiro Okazaki called, "I love my robots," in which humans and robots interacted on stage. Her work was likewise quite popular in France, with pieces commissioned by the Paris Opera Ballet.

After news of her death was released by her dance company on Monday, March 20, 2017, Julien Bargeton, a deputy in the Paris mayor's office, tweeted of his "immense pain" on learning of Brown's death, saying her shows "had fascinated me."

Her final two choreographies were completed in 2011: "Les Yeux de l'ame" ("The Eyes of the Soul") and "I'm going to toss my arms -- if you catch them they're yours."

ct/sb (afp)

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