Songs Without Words 1
sww1 studio trial notes

Studio trials 1-1

SWW Video Archive Phase 1 March 30

  • shifting in and through positions with asymmetry and quality range, using parts and/or whole body
  • phrasing that departs from progressive positions
  • alternating between lower and upper body in articulations and initiations/between right/left sides
  • sinking, melting forms
  • deep pliers
  • wide to narrow to wide
  • stillness/emergence
  • *turnout in legs for access to spirals and additional expressions
  • gestures arising and being consumed
  • inner music
  • *gathering and pitching in and out

Studio trials 1-2

SWW Video Archive Phase 2 May 8

4. Bell Monashee III 

  • building on animal   
  • work against brightness of sound by staying low, being heavy, shifting angles blocky


Impression = a bit awkward but in a bad way? – when the music softened I was left with nothing, perhaps I could have executed the idea: pulled the right hand along left arm sink, or perhaps stillness, or a single change of focus?

Initial view – I can see the animal wanting to come thru,
Evidently there is a lyricism to what I have to say that really needs to speak / What gives structure? How much musical information in score – and how much in dance j- how to vary and why.

Second Viewing – opening idea could be made to work with a bit more specificity and progressive intent, 1’13 awareness of space as focus lifts remarkable, then animal forward walk on diagonal could have been extended, 2’14 what to do in the softening came later, 3’10 animal up the diagonal

Studio trials 1-3

SWW Video Archive Phase 2 May 26

Looking for a new clearer approach
1. priority is still in the defined sww values, and in new discovery

2. work with music – but only the expressive evocative best – Bell / Saariaho / Somers / Westerkamp / Lee / Tanaka / Schafer.

3. When working with music use the same piece twice, each interpretation based in a different combination of themes and counterpoint quality choices

4. Consider using Post It notes in the rehearsal space to prompt the inclusion of themes, strategies etc.

4. Bell, Monashee I 4’50

Let animal come thru / fist walking, spine horizontal / leggy / cross step, cross arms, cricket/ wrist drop

Impression – this seems to be working – to pull them out – to work with good music – this process fuels me to imagine shape, not just of each theme, but of the whole. These themes need more development and more significance within the ABAB structure.

Second viewing – opening musical relationship clearly that the dance makes the sound happen, lovely, at 1’20 there could be less holding back and more full accented attack in counterpoint during cross step vocab, go for it, long leg forward passe extension, 3’30 touching floor with fists does not work….because it is too literal…from 4’00 working to find new co-ordinations, expressions and forms in parallel forward four legs with fists / good ending to song, conveying the ultimate transformation

Studio trials 1-3

SWW Video Archive Phase 2 May 26

Looking for a new clearer approach
1. priority is still in the defined sww values, and in new discovery

2. work with music – but only the expressive evocative best – Bell / Saariaho / Somers / Westerkamp / Lee / Tanaka / Schafer.

3. When working with music use the same piece twice, each interpretation based in a different combination of themes and counterpoint quality choices

4. Consider using Post It notes in the rehearsal space to prompt the inclusion of themes, strategies etc.

4. Bell, Monashee I 4’50

Let animal come thru / fist walking, spine horizontal / leggy / cross step, cross arms, cricket/ wrist drop

Impression – this seems to be working – to pull them out – to work with good music – this process fuels me to imagine shape, not just of each theme, but of the whole. These themes need more development and more significance within the ABAB structure.

Second viewing – opening musical relationship clearly that the dance makes the sound happen, lovely, at 1’20 there could be less holding back and more full accented attack in counterpoint during cross step vocab, go for it, long leg forward passe extension, 3’30 touching floor with fists does not work….because it is too literal…from 4’00 working to find new co-ordinations, expressions and forms in parallel forward four legs with fists / good ending to song, conveying the ultimate transformation

Music

The thematic vocabulary that ultimately manifested as sww 1 took its fullest expression in the studio trials with the music of Allan Gordon Bell. The simplicity of form and the melodic reiterations in the first movement of Bell’s Monashee (score and recording available from the Canadian Music Centre) frees me to phrase the dance in song-like counterpoint. The distinctive single cello notes seem to add resonance to the moments of stillness in the dance, as they lend a tone of dramatic import, a sense of impending arrival.

Knowing the score allows me to pursue an effective musicality: what stresses and accents in the dance anticipate, follow or line-up with these significant musical events, for example. Through experimentation I then arrive at a kind of template for the music & dance progression notes.

While these notes suggest a finality in the music dance relationship, it is more the case that the process of making these notes informs my performance choices. I leave myself free to work with the subtle variations in attack and balance that are part of each specific performance.

My method involves listening closely to the score to compile music progression notes: a timed list of significant musical events that allows me to shape co-ordinations between the dance and the music.

Tedd Robinson, photographer: Rod MacIvor
photographer: Rod MacIvor

Invited commenter Tedd Robinson

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Studio trial 1-1

SWW Video Archive Phase 1 March 30

  • shifting in and through positions with asymmetry and quality range, using parts and/or whole body
  • phrasing that departs from progressive positions
  • alternating between lower and upper body in articulations and initiations/between right/left sides
  • sinking, melting forms
  • deep pliers
  • wide to narrow to wide
  • stillness/emergence
  • *turnout in legs for access to spirals and additional expressions
  • gestures arising and being consumed
  • inner music
  • *gathering and pitching in and out

 

5. Allan Gordon Bell, Field Notes Movement 3 again 4’00

Impression = ***unsaying what has just been said…as an approach…I found this interesting and in some places authentic

Initial Viewing:
what works for me is the changes of quality in the undoing, the abruptness of attack sometimes, and the animal presence  

Second Viewing:

’30 liquid and hanging soft….important contrast/accent/***thing, ’56 like the work deep in the back here, could use more of that or explore what that might be… 1’20 example of gesture arising and being consumed, 1’32 return of liquid hanging soft, ***wide to narrow throughout,  2’10 – 2’13 example of compositional development of arm open close gesture finishing each beat closed except for the final beat which finishes open, and sustains to transform, 3’00 on spot **gesture development wide stance with changing levels, 

 

Monashee I – progression notes

A – Introduction (1’05)
0 single low note

’08 reiterated single low note

’13 two higher two-note chords descending

’25 single low note

’29 two higher two-note chords descending

’40 single low note

’45 two higher two-note chords descending

’51 two single much higher notes descending

1’01 single low note

Knowing the score allows me to pursue an effective musicality: what stresses and accents in the dance anticipate, follow or line-up with these significant musical events, for example. Through experimentation I then arrive at a kind of template for the music & dance progression notes.

Monashee I – music & dance progression notes

0 single low note    
stillness
 
Right fist/left fist shave & ANTICIPATE reiterated note ‘08
’08 reiterated single low note
 
’13 two higher two-note chords descending     
move left elbow arch up ANTICIPATE ‘13 chords
 
Focus up and stay, slow torso turn & 
 
’25  single low note
arm extend with dropped hands, tail sit ON ‘25
 
’29  two higher two-note chords descending  
step out right FOLLOWING 2nd chord
 
 
In SILENCE – elbow accents and left ear forward, palm/head accent stage right ON ‘40
 
’40  single low note
 
’45  two higher two-note chords descending
 
FOLLOW descending chords with right should drop to bring body around to flat back
 
’51  two single much higher notes descending  
ANTICIPATE carry body slowly down and forward,  FOLLOW 2nd note with completed flat back arrival, arms very slow
 
1’01 single low note
ON paw back with left hand

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