floor of the forest


First performed in 1970 in New York City’s downtown Soho neighbourhood by Trisha Brown and Carmen Beuchat, “Floor of the Forest” consists of a sculptural steel frame holding up a web of ropes that have been threaded with colourful used clothing. Placed at eye-level, this horizontal plane becomes a soft platform for two dancers to negotiate. Climbing onto the apparatus, the dancers weave their way across the structure by putting on and then taking off the clothing, occasionally pausing to allow gravity to pull their bodies toward the floor while the clothing acts as a cocoon or hammock.

Brown’s choreography actively intertwines the movement of the dancers with the ropes; as the dancers rely completely on the clothing to support their inert bodies at rest. This activity, at once calm and strenuous, explores the complexity latent within even the most common bodily actions. By exploring the effects of gravity on the body, Brown challenges our notion of quotidian movements, transforming daily tasks into demanding physical trials. Brown’s choreography reminds us of how our bodies become defined by the seemingly simple repetitions, and Floor of the Forest encourages the audience to reassess  the connections between their physical body and the surrounding environment, and their contribution to individual identity.

Trisha Brown, Floor of the Forest, Hayward Gallery


about Trisha Brown

Trisha Brown is one of the most original and innovative figures of contemporary dance, whose groundbreaking work redefined choreographic practice in the 1960s and 1970s in close relation to the artistic avant-gardes of the period. Born in 1936, Brown graduated from Mills College in 1958, she trained, during summer workshops, with Anna Halprin, Merce Cunningham, Louis Horst and José Limón. In 1961 she moved to New York, where she contributed to the establishment of the Judson Dance Theater in 1962. Along with her peers and frequent collaborators Yvonne Rainer, Simone Forti, and Steve Paxton, she is considered one of the foremost representatives of post-modern dance.

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