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I remember having conversations with her during that process about what we chose to interrupt, what was perhaps purely kinetic, was often vaguely and abstractly psychologically resonant. Neal Beasley: For example, what does a shudder do when it’s interjected into a dancey-dance phrase?Really looking at that sort of tension that she began to explore probably as early as but is also present in the operas I think in her treatment of narrative. I was 23, 24 and one-on-one with Trisha and Carolyn. They’re There’s one of me with glasses and braces and shaggy, weird hair and bad skin in a sequined vest doing an a cappella tap solo in a hotel lobby. It’s a small student population—there are maybe only 250 of us—and very international. Eleanor Bauer and I went to high school together; Julian Barnett was there also. It was on the top of a mountain a mile up from Palm Springs, a very enchanted forest with all these kids running down dirt paths to little cottages where you had classes. Time Out New York: I think you were just born to dance—you’re so natural it’s crazy. I have a very sedentary family even, and I was always the active one doing cartwheels in front of the television. I was born with clubfeet, actually, and had worn a cast the first year of my life so the way I can absorb shock is somewhat limited, and gymnastics was too trying. I remember years after I’d started working professionally being home for Thanksgiving and an uncle was saying the family prayer and he made some mention of, “We’re just so grateful that Neal is actually able to make a living doing that dancing stuff.” It was so foreign to them and it always has been. This end of the dance world, especially, is obscure. I’ve made a lot of peace with the scale of life that we’ve chosen for ourselves. I think the program at Tisch is sort of what you make of it. We actually had a fake senior prom when we actually graduated so I thought we could recreate that. We did an excerpt of ]; that’s where I met Diane [Madden, the company’s rehearsal director], and she kind of scooped me right in so I had that job within a few weeks of graduating, which was crazy. Even then I was struggling with injury and almost a weird, jaded, Oh the ceiling is so low and I see the people who have graduated before me and they’re working for peanuts. I have worked hard, but I also have not had to struggle in the same way that other artists have.

It was totally fun—it was using the gamelike principles that structured the making of that work and knowing the base phrase and being able to play with it and play with them. But that following spring, we were in residency at White Oak, and we were making and it was incredible, because when she’s making phrase material, she never likes to have more than three bodies in the room with her.

To play with Trisha Brown, it really did feel like an honor.

I think it was around that time that we began having discussions about me learning and performing ] A lot of company members that had been there upwards of eight to ten years left at once.

One of the male solos is all from her body and it’s all this birdlike imagery. We use those cues now to better understand when it’s not adequately notated what she chose and why.

Trisha’s whole working process from the mid to late ’80s has been captured on video—there’s this really rich archive of all of that work and hearing her gasp when something really magical happens followed by this Ohhhhh! She’s a taskmaster and always has been of creating these machines that deliver perhaps an unexpected result/product, but in the end there is still this mysterious selection process.

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