The Original: Trio A by Yvonne Rainer - 1966 (performance)
Trio A a dance that was originally choreographed as a section of an evening length piece, The Mind as a Muscle in the 1960s. Trio A, along with Rainer's other works around that time were largely shaped by her “No Manifesto”:
NO to spectacle.
No to virtuosity.
No to transformations and magic and make-believe.
No to the glamour and transcendency of the star image.
No to the heroic.
No to the anti-heroic.
No to trash imagery.
No to involvement of performer or spectator,
No to style.
No to camp.
No to seduction of spectator by the wiles of the performer.
No to eccentricity.
No to moving or being moved.
This manifesto represented upcoming choreographers move away from the emotion driven pieces of Martha Graham and towards dances that explore movement as movement. In Trio A, Rainer uses pedestrian movements and avoids eye contact withe the audience throughout the work as ways of adhering to this manifesto. The piece has been performed in more traditional setting such as a galleries and concert stages. Trio A has been performed by dancers and non-dancers alike as well as young and old bodies.
The Update: Trio B (Trio A, for the 21st century)
For my update project I chose to focus on the idea of connection (particularly eye contact), and how new technologies and various ways of viewing performance alter and challenge what connection is felt and by what party involved. In this work I am seeking to demonstrate the new ways in which Rainer’s “No Manifesto” can be put into play.
I learned a few minutes of a section of Rainer’s Trio A from a video posted on youtube as clearly as I could, keeping the same quality and style of movement. I then changed the eye focus of the section so that it was always “front” or directly where the viewer would be. In addition to changing the focus I experimented with depth and how much of my body was visible. A number of times throughout the piece I placed my body so my head was completely outside of the frame, resulting in the complete elimination of any eye contact. I performed the piece, filmed it, and live streamed it to a web channel I created.
By live streaming the “performance” and having the “audience” view the piece in real time I was able to simulated an environment similar to a regular theater environment. By looking directly at the camera, it would seem, from the viewer’s perspective that I was creating a connection with them. That connection, however, is only one way, since I am not able to see the viewer and am very much alone, therefore adhering to such rules in the manifesto such as “No Spectacle." I am also exploring performance specifically created for video and the web, as this form of connection would not be possible without a technology veil of sorts. The experience of the viewer and the performer becomes very different and private.