“PLANES” by Trisha Brown

In 1968, New York choreographer, Trisha Brown, produced a dance piece, titled, “Planes.” This past weekend, she introduced it (fresh as the night it was premiered) to the throngs milling about Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, and I, for one, feel very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time.

The work consists of dancers making slow progress moving upon the face of a wall or cliff, with porthole features to afford toe- and hand-holds. That progress represents one of the “planes” of the action here. A second plane consists of video clips of various events, ranging from the squirming of a baby to the plunge of a spacecraft across the sky. The sounds accompanying this trek range from wordless, single motif arias to the buzzing of high-speed elements.

“Planes” can also mean vehicles intensely moving through space. We are confronted with an eerily simple foreground and an insistent beckoning of the world.

Originally designed to run twenty minutes, we caught up with this awesome work in a twelve-hour format during the all-night festival of Nuit Blanche (White Night) 2012. One could spend a very long time indeed, weighing the interplay of the three dancers up front (here part of a large troupe spelling each other off) and how they become entwined with the surge of the entities in the film.

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