Songs Without Words 9
Songs Without Words 9

Studio trials 9

SWW9 springs, at its most fundamental, from a fascination with simplicity, and how simplicity can open to the profound.   I drew Mitzvah Technique inspired qualities of groundedness, flow, ease,  and expansion into the movement to affect the performance of walking, balancing, varying pace and changing directions. I am inviting the viewer to sense and feel these subtleties with me.  Any meanings are secondary while the quality is the primary subject. 

These short videos show excerpts of studio trials with walking vocabulary and the Barret & Orning score, GFP-fusion.   To my eye they show a progression in the way the walking vocabulary evolved.  

In studio trial 1 the walking is loaded with an emotional tone, while in studio trial 2 walking becomes more abstract and the choices more contrasted: here for example, from low, slow, crossing steps, to straight forward quick steps. 

Studio trial 3 shows the ‘low-slow-crossing’ again but in relationship to an arrival, a place, an event – in this case an extended rise downstage centre.  Finally studio trial 4 shows a section of the final choreography in which the walking and the events find a kind of balance and symbiosis:  that is the walk leads an event/change, and the change/event resolves into walking.


I worked with Natasha Barrett’s music for SWW 8.  From the same collection of recordings, Dr. Ox,  that Ms. Barrett did with cellist Tanja Orning I selected GFP-fusion for SWW 9.  I was drawn initially to the spaciousness and ease that characterizes this piece.  Not only does it provide a strong dynamic contrast to Motif of Myo1p that accompanies SWW 8 but it gives room for the dancer’s impulses to dictate the initiation, duration and punctation of each movement section. The quality of flow in GFP-fusion establishes a world of ease for this simple dance to unfold with the very lightest of tensions.

I always go through the exercise of close listening.   In the creation of SWW 9, even though it happens that there are no places where the dance is anchored to the score, I listened closely many times.  In rehearsal and performance a deep aspect of my awareness never leaves the sound.


The crown is leading, the spine yielding, the feet opening to the ground.  I flow between earth and sky.


Stephanie Ballard

Stephanie Ballard - Dance Maker and Legacy Protector - Artist In Residence - School of Contemporary Dancers

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We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.

Score SWW 9 GFP-fusion

‘0 – enter single shimmer drone

’0 – additional higher shimmer drone

‘11 – hints of sporadic droplets


’43 – ’52 – very faint cello, a few notes high

’47 – very faint wavering to drop

’53 – 1’04 – more present single note cello with colour

1’06 – wavering to drop

1’08 – 1’16 cello melody #1 – walking

1’22 – 1’30 cello #2

1’36 – 1’44 cello #3 (begins like #1)

1’50 – wavering to drop

1’52 – 2’02 – cello #4

2’04 – 3’00 – extended cello feature with 4 progressively longer sections

3’04 – 4’ 00 – cello feature with echo

4’02 – 4’12  most present shimmer drones drop away leaving cello alone

4’18, 4’23,  4’28 , 4’40- dark cello reverberations

4’47 – 8  – evident single high drone very present no cello

4’49 – wavering to drop

5’01/ 5’04 – hints of cello

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