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From Jill Johnston to Sally Banes, Susan Leigh Foster, Mark Franko, Ramsay Burt, and, most recently, Carrie Lambert-Beatty, dance historians and theorists have extolled the qualities of Yvonne Rainer's Trio A (1966) and discussed its significance in dance history. My relationship to this dance is unique. I first saw it at the Billy Rose Theatre in New York City in 1969, and in the same year I learned and performed it at the American Dance Festival at Connecticut College. In November of 1970 I first performed it retrograde, and I first taught it in the summer of 1971. In the forty years since, I have continued to perform and teach it. One of the high points in this odyssey was performing it in a duet with Yvonne at Judson Church in Trio A Pressured, a 1999 piece that marked her return to dance after a twenty-five-year hiatus as a filmmaker.
What is it about this dance, beyond its ideas and groundbreaking methods, that has kept me wanting to perform it and others wanting to see and learn it? And how is the experience of doing it different from that of viewing it? How has it changed for me and across generations over the years? I must go back to that first experience with the dance to begin to answer these questions.
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