Trio A - a workshop with Pat Catterson

Saturday, October 15, 2016 - 1:00pm
Sunday, October 16, 2016 - 1:00pm
Trio A
Trio A - a workshop with Pat Catterson

What can be learned today from Yvonne Rainer’s 1966 influential work Trio A? Fifty years later, the impact of Rainer’s revolutionary ideas and work is still evident in the current choreographic scene. Although Rainer’s famous “No Manifesto” was not written about Trio A, this dance is a manifesto in itself. Its form, vocabulary, and performing stance challenged traditional choreographic methods and modes of presentation. Pat Catterson’s Trio A Workshop provides an introduction to an aesthetic that has served as a springboard for succeeding generations of dance makers.

In this Workshop, Trio A’s philosophical, physical and historical relevance is examined and experienced.  Students will learn part of the dance, be given composition exercises around its projects, some reading assignments, and be led in a discussion of its ideas, contexts and their experiences.

Workshop participants please read the following articles. The first contains three by Yvonne, but only read the first one and maybe the second. The second reading is by Pat about her experiences seeing, learning performing and teaching Trio A. It was published in Dance Research Journal.

Rainer, Yvonne. The Mind is a Muscle,  A Quasi Survey of Some Minimalist Tendencies in the Quantitatively Minimal Dance Activity Midst the Plethora,or an Analysis of Trio A, Some Non-Chronological Recollections of the Mind is a Muscle, Profile: Interview by Lyn Blumenthal. A Woman WhoŠ Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1999. 27-84.

Catterson, Pat. I Promised Myself I would Never Let It Leave My Body’s Memory. Dance Research Journal. Winter 2009. Issue 42/2. 1-11.


Yvonne Rainer
Yvonne Rainer

Yvonne Rainer, one of the founders of the Judson Dance Theater (1962), made a transition to filmmaking following a fifteen-year career as a choreographer/dancer (1960-1975). After making seven experimental feature-length films  — “Lives of Performers” (1972), “Privilege” (1990), and “MURDER and murder” (1996), among others — she returned to dance in 2000 via a commission from the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation (“After Many a Summer Dies the Swan”). Since then she has made six dances, including “AG Indexical, with a little help from H.M.,” “Assisted Living: Do you have any money?” and “The Concept of Dust: Continuous Project – Altered Annually.” Her dances have been seen throughout the U.S., including the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Kitchen, Dia Beacon; in Europe at the


Louvre and Montpelier, also Documenta 12, Helsinki, Italy, Dublin; and Sao Paulo. Museum retrospectives of her work, including drawings, photos, films, notebooks, and memorabilia, have been presented at Kunsthaus Bregenz and Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2012); the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; Jeu de Paume, École des Beaux Artes, La Ferme du Buisson, Paris, and Raven Row, London (2014). A memoir — “Feelings Are Facts: a Life” — was published by MIT Press in 2006. A selection of her poetry was published in 2011 by Paul Chan’s Badlands Unlimited. Other writings have been collected in “Work: 1961-73” (1974); “The Films of Y.R.” (1989); and “A Woman Who…: Essays, Interviews, Scripts (1999).

Pat Catterson
Pat Catterson

Pat Catterson first worked with Ms Rainer and performed TRIO A in 1969, first taught the dance for her in 1971, and has assisted and danced for her since Rainer’s return to choreography in 1999, touring nationally and internationally. She has taught and performed TRIO A countless times since and has found that learning it is the best way to understand the aesthetic shift it represented. Catterson has written about her experiences seeing, learning, performing and teaching TRIO A in her essay “I Promised Myself I Would Never Let It Leave My Body’s Memory” published in the Winter 2009 issue of Dance Research Journal. Most recently she set early Rainer works on the Stephen Petronio Company for his Bloodlines Project, for the exhibit Yvonne Rainer: Dance Works at Raven Row Gallery in London and performed these and other works herself in Boris Charmatz’ Twenty dancers for the XX Century at the Tate Modern.


This  Trio A Workshop has been conducted at the CODA Festival in Oslo, the Kalamata International Festival in Greece, at the Danish National School of Contemporary Dance in Copenhagen as well as at schools in the USA including Sarah Lawrence College, NYU, the New School and Muhlenberg College.


She also has her own notable choreographic career, having made 108 works. She has received numerable grants and commissions, including a 2011 Award from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and multiple Choreography Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the CAPS Grants and the Harkness Foundation, as well as a Fulbright Commission. Ms Catterson’s parents were a ballroom dancing team and her paternal grandfather a Vaudevillian tap dancer. A dedicated educator, she has been on the faculties at Sarah Lawrence College, UCLA, the Juilliard School, and the Merce Cunningham Studio, among many others. She has been a guest artist all over the US and in Europe and for twenty years she taught her own tap classes in NYC. Her writing has also been published in Ballet Review, JOPERD, Attitude Magazine, Dance Magazine Online, and the Getty Iris. She earned her BA in psychology and philosophy from Northwestern University and her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. This past summer she taught a workshop seminar in the Kalamata Dance Festival in Greece around her latest work NOW., an installation/performance/event that paired her NYC dancers with dancers in nine other countries via Skype projection.

Performance Garage
1515 Brandywine Street
Philadelphia 19130
Phone: (215) 546-2552