Line Up is a movement activity developed by choreographer Trisha Brown that reflects her interest in the interplay between structure and improvisation. This set uses her activity design as the basis for a movement lesson and provides a brief illustrated introduction to the work of Trisha Brown.
As a a lens into post-modern dance in the 1960s and 1970s, this set introduces a specific dance genre and serves as a jumping off point in considering how post-modern dance reflects the social, political and aesthetic milieu of that time. Line Up has continued to be used by myriad people over the years and in K-16 education as a foundational lesson in improvisational dance.
This Art Collector Set was developed through a partnership between Walker Art Center and Perpich Center for Arts Education (Dance Outreach).
Post-modern dancers were interested in setting up situations where all kinds of human movement could be experienced and looked at as dance. Frequently, groups of individual improvised within specifically stated limitations or rules such as in Line Up, a movement activity designed by choreographer Trisha Brown.
With its game-like structure and infinite possibilities for discovery and resolution, Line Up might be considered an example of gamification in dance - but using the human body instead of technology.
Left: K-12 teachers explore Line Up in a dance education workshop. Photo by Dan Markworth.
Line Up uses a few simple rules to generate improvisational movement and spontaneous images by a group of people:
1. The Leader or Teacher explains that this is an improvisational movement game and that communication among the dancers can only be through movement—no voices. S/he will call "Line Up!" to begin the activity and "Stop" to conclude it.
2. Anyone may start a line anywhere in the space and multiple lines can happen at the same time. As soon as any line in any direction begins to form, anyone can join that line or even extend it in a new way.
3. New lines form whenever someone breaks off to initiate a different line. Lines continue forming and shifting until "Stop" is called.
Trisha Brown (b. 1936) is best known for her innovative choreographies that revolutionized modern dance. Brown pioneered the idea that the body can be conceived as a field with varying centers, all of these centers being potential places where movement begins. Brown delights in the play between structure and improvisation, between repetition and invention, and between choice and chance. Early in her career, Brown created works in which performers walked on the walls of a gallery or down the exterior façade of a building—rather than on the floor.
To honor her career spanning more than 40 years, the Walker Art Center, Northrop Dance, and the University of Minnesota Dance Program presented the Year of Trisha in 2008. The festivities included an exhibition, a lecture, and reconstructions of several early site-specific performance works. Documentation from three of these reconstructed works are presented on the slides that follow.
On July 5, 2008, the Trisha Brown Dance Company (TBDC) presented free outdoor performances of rarely staged early works. This day of dance reflected the Walker's long relationship with Brown. Man Walking Down the Side of a Building, one of Brown's seminal works which hadn't been seen in the United States since its New York debut in 1970, was performed on the side of the Walker's Barnes building.
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This set may be used to support student learning in the dance benchmarks below. The parts that could be specifically addressed through this set are underlined. Meeting a standard requires multiple experiences—in depth and over time—and must be assessed.
Strand I: Artistic Foundations | Standard 3
184.108.40.206.1 Describe the cultural and historical traditions of dance including the contributions of Minnesota American Indian tribes and communities.
220.127.116.11.1 Compare and contrast the connections among works in dance, their purposes and their cultural, historical and social contexts, including the contributions of Minnesota American Indian tribes and communities.
18.104.22.168.1 Analyze how a work in dance influences or is influenced by the personal, social, cultural and historical contexts, including the contributions of Minnesota American Indian tribes and communities.
Strand II: Artistic Process: Create or Make | Standard 1
22.214.171.124.1 Create movement sequences and improvisations using choreographic forms to express an idea, theme, image or tradition.
126.96.36.199.1.Create movement motifs, phrases, improvisations and dances that demonstrate choreographic form in a variety of dance contexts.
188.8.131.52.1 Create solo or ensemble work that integrates technology and production elements in more than one context.