Did you know in order for Babette Mangolte to film Trisha Brown’s Watermotor (1978), the filmmaker had to use slow motion film?
Brown invited Mangolte, who was then the semi-official photographer of the choreographer, to come see her latest piece she was preparing to debut at the Public Theatre. Filmed at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio, Mangolte initially had Brown do a first and second take shot at normal speed film. With Brown’s singular movements, Mangolte felt by if she “knew her dance vocabulary very well,” and if she “slow down [the film],” she could “understand it better and but also to see something you can’t see any other way.”
Mangolte suggested they do a third take in slow motion. With this change in process, the natural framing caused by the slow motion film, and lack of sound, the piece shifted from a mere documentation of a performance to collaborative portrait interpreted differently between the two women.
For more videos and photographs check out the Trisha Brown Dance Company’s Media Archive.
Trisha Brown’s Dance Center Foundation benefit auction is from January 9 through 26. View offerings here.