Anne Lauren Luben's picture
  • Dish
  • 22 March 2017

The dance world is mourning this week as news of Trisha Brown's passing spread. Ms. Brown died this past Saturday, March 18, at 80 years old.

Trisha Brown grew up in Washington State, later moving to Oakland, CA to attend school at Mills College. She also studied at the American Dance Festival with the likes of Merce Cunningham and Louis Horst.

Brown later moved to New York and co-founded the Judson Church dance collective in 1962 and Grand Union in 1970. She launched her own company in 1970 and began to develop the functional, casual, yet witty works that would put her on the map as a pioneer of post-modern dance.

Ms. Brown was also known for her love of the unconventional; her work "Walking on the Wall" required her dancers to use ropes and harnesses to scale tall vertical walls, while "Roof Piece" placed dancers on 12 rooftops around 10 blocks of New York's SoHo area. Though she made over 100 pieces, her most famous work is "Set and Reset" from 1983.

Throughout her four-decade career, Brown received many awards. In 1991 she was a MacArthur fellow, and in 2011 earned a "Bessie" lifetime achievement award.

Ms. Brown was diagnosed several years ago with vascular dementia, and created her last work in 2011, though her company has not stopped performing. She was truly a national dance treasure, and she will be deeply missed.