1978 Performance of Trio A
Trio A (The Mind is a Muscle, Part 1) was first performed by the dancer Yvonne Rainer (b. 1934) in 1966 though this recording is from 1978.
The piece is described by MoMA as “a sequence of unpredictable movements that unfold in a continuous motion, deliberately opposing familiar dance patterns of development and climax.”
Rainer’s work falls within Carroll’s description of expression theory. The piece rejects both formalism and mimetic norms of dance and embraces Carrol’s description of expressive dance as “genuine expressions of emotion to the enactment of the emotional states of characters, but considers as dance any investment of movement with anthropomorphic qualities, whether or not this is motivated by a narrative context.” (Carroll 588)
The best insight into the themes and ideas of the work can be found in the words of the artist herself helpfully provided in description of the video.
“[Trio A] would be about a kind of pacing where a pose is never struck. No sooner had the body arrived at the desired position than it would go immediately into the next move, not through momentum but through a very prosaic going on. And there would be different moves-getting down on the floor, getting up. There would be this pedestrian dynamic that would suffuse and connect the whole thing. So the whole thing, though it would be composed of these fragments of movement unrelated both kinetically and positionally or shapewise, would look as though it were one long phrase. There would be no dramatic changes like leaps. There was a kind of folky step that had a rhythm to it and I worked a long time to get the syncopation out of it. In a way the opening da, da, da, da of the arms set the rhythm of the whole thing. There were exceptions to this rule, but this began to be the overall structure rhythmically and dynamically of this solo.”
-Yvonne Rainer, interview with Lyn Blumenthal, 1984, reprinted in Rainer, “A Woman Who . . . Essays, Interviews, Scripts” (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), p. 64