Thursday 13 January 2022

Postmodern Dance at London's Tate: Set and Reset by Trisha Brown

Trish Oesterling, Carolyn Lucas, David Thomson, Gregory Lara in Set and Reset (1983). Photo © Mark Hanauer 1993. Cover picture: Candoco Dance Company, Set and Reset/Reset. Photography by Camilla Greenwell, 2021.

This month, London's Tate Modern will launch a reconceived version of Trisha Brown’s ground-breaking 1983 postmodern dance Set and Reset with the original music by Laurie Anderson and stage-set and costumes by Robert Rauschenberg. In March, the renowned Candoco Dance Company and Rambert will form part of the installation, Isabella Lancellotti reports

Set and Reset, photographed by Eric Boudet 2011
TRISHA Brown was one of the most influential dancers and choreographers of her generation. Celebrated for her artistic experimentalism and collaboration with other artists, musicians and designers in 1960s New York, Brown pioneered a unique process of ‘memorised improvisation’. 

Set and Reset marked an important shift in Brown’s practice where her fluid yet idiosyncratic dance style was developed into a multi-layered choreographic structure. Comprising choreography by Brown, soundtrack by Laurie Anderson, stage-set and costumes by Robert Rauschenberg and lighting by Beverly Emmons, Set and Reset first premiered in 1983 and marked a pivotal moment in dance and art history. 

The display at Tate Modern will feature elements from the staging, as well as documentation of the performance, and rarely seen videotapes that show Brown building and rehearsing the choreography with her dancers. The stage-set, costumes, soundtrack and lighting, devised by Brown and her collaborators, will join Tate’s collection as an installation. This acquisition opens up new possibilities for how museums can collect and represent dance as it intersects with visual art.

With choreography by Brown, a soundtrack by Laurie Anderson and stage-set and costumes by Robert Rauschenberg Set and Reset marked a pivotal moment in dance and art history

From 12–14 March 2022, the London-based dance company Rambert will perform Set and Reset within the installation at Tate Modern, marking the first time that dancers outside of the Trisha Brown Dance Company have been allowed to perform the 1983 iteration of the work. Alongside the original score, lighting, sets and costumes, Rambert will showcase the fluid and unpredictable style of the original choreography. The following week, from 19–21 March 2022, Candoco Dance Company will perform Set and Reset/Reset, a radical reconstruction of Brown’s original choreography fused with the dancers’ own impulses and instincts. 

Candoco Dance Company, Set and Reset, Reset II,
Photograhed by Camilla Green well 2021. 
As a contemporary dance company, Candoco seeks to expand and challenge the perceptions of what dance can be. Through its company of disabled and non-disabled dancers Candoco continually pushes the boundaries of dance, creating distinctive performances and far-reaching learning experiences. 

A seminal work in its repertoire, Set and Reset/Reset has been performed by the company to audiences across the world for more than ten years.

In collaboration with Trisha Brown Dance Company, Tate will also present Set and Reset/Unset, a series of informal performances that will provide a rare insight into the core principles and processes that Brown used to create her choreography. 

Taking place within the installation across multiple dates between March and August 2022, these free events will build upon Trisha Brown’s own history of combining spoken-word with movement and delivering lectures about her process while her dancers performed on stage.

The display and performances of Set and Reset form part of Tate’s plan to exhibit, collect and research live art and performance. 

Set and Reset by Trisha Brown is at Tate Modern from 24 January ~ 4 September 2022 and will be open daily 10.00~18.00, performances various. Admission free during public opening hours, tickets required for performances. For information call +44(0)20 7887 8888 or visit  

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