Transmitting Trio A (1966) by Yvonne Rainer

I am one of a select group of dance artists globally to be certified by Yvonne Rainer to transmit Trio A (1966) a seminal dance in her repertoire work. I worked closely with Yvonne from 2008-2010 as a dancer, choreographer and teaching assistant at the University of California, Irvine. Having been a guardian of Rainer’s work since 2010 I have travelled extensively across the US, EU, UK and SE Asia sharing the work through performing, lecturing and teaching.

Sara Wookey, Trio A
Sara in the studio rehearsing ‘Trio A (1966)’ with Yvonne Rainer

My work with Yvonne is part of my passion for creating positive lasting legacies. It is important to support the preservation of and ongoing evolution of dance works such as Trio A (1966).

What brought me to work with Yvonne?

What has brought me to work with Yvonne as one of her transmitters of Trio A (1966) is my love of her work, belief in its legacy as an ongoing influence on dance today. My interest in experimental dance, expanded choreographic practice and socio-political aspects of the form are also what motivates me to share the work more widely, including dancers, dance enthusiasts and those interested in democratic ways of working.

I studied with Yvonne at the University of California, Los Angeles where I also became her assistant in 2010. Yvonne served as one of my Master of Fine Art advisors at the University of California, Los Angeles from 2010-2014. I went on to continue a collegial-friendship with her and I am in touch with her in regards to my custodial work with her legacy project.

How do I transmit?

I have developed methods for transmitting Trio A (1966) to trained dancers that includes a warm up that prepares the body for the rigorous learning process. The transmission time is spread across 1-6 days, depending on the needs and wants of the participants, and engages layers of information and the captured language Yvonne uses to describe the dance. These layers include movement, spacing, pacing and gaze.

What does it bring?

What it can bring to others who experience it is a connection to the work in an experiential way and through a living oral history. The process includes physical and cognitive experiences such as learning movement phrases in which 2-3 actions are happening in the body at once that are unrelated. It is a way to get in touch with a significant part of dance history through learning, doing and experiencing it directly. It also offers an experience of equitable working models in which collective decision making, co-leadership and democratic approaches are practiced.

Who would benefit?

It is important to Yvonne that only trained dancers perform Trio A (1966). Others are welcome to observe the transmission process including those who are interested in Yvonne’s work, who have a passion for dance and choreographic practices such as dancers, choreographers and dance scholars. As well as those from the visual arts and film studies who are familiar with Yvonne’s work but may not have experience or knowledge of her dance work. Anyone with an interest in work from the 1960s & 70s New York scene that also have references to socio-political histories and art as activism.

What it contributes to

Learning Trio A (1966) contributes to an ongoing thread of enquiry and development of Yvonne’s legacy and the legacy of dance and arts in general. It is part of an oral history tradition in dance that has meaning beyond the sector to be inclusive to anyone interested to take part in that process regardless of dance experience and ability.


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Previous venues and communities include Dance House Sydney, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), Yale University, Singapore, National Gallery of Victoria, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, Hammer Museum, Chisenhale Dance Space, Corali and Tate Modern London.