Friday, August 1, 2014

In Process: Sneak Peek of our newest work - Dactyl

In preparation for Rhythmfest we have been working on a new piece called Dactyl.
(Nope not terridactyl ... but more on the title later on)

The piece is set to a popular movement from one of Bach's cello suites, the Bourrée. I fell in love with the Bach Cello Suites when I saw Mark Morris' work Falling Down Stairs on video in high school. My mom would say it was long before that. She jokes that when I was in utero I'd kick her a lot when she played Bach. As a performer I have been in works that used this music with both HNM Dance Company and in a work by Gdalit Newman. I remember joking with Carly Manuel that we wouldn't really be a company until we had a piece to a movement from the Bach Cello Suites in our repertoire ... and so here we are.

Right now choreographically I'm totally digging theme and variation and the idea that less is more.  ... I feel that this is something I've been consciously interested in since creating Carly's solo Stay the Course. For this piece there are only ten main gestures that make up the content of the work. This is in response to both the fact that apparently the average person can only remember seven digits at a time and also as a way to push myself to try and see all the opportunities that exist in pulling apart one gesture.

This piece in some ways feels like a shift away from my previous work as it is not concerned with the emotive expression of the dancers but is clearly about form and the relationship of form to the space and to the rhythm. Given the nostalgic connections to the music, it would not be honest to say that it is without emotional motivations. The gestures are quite frankly shapes I like and draw on the rhythm I often build class phrases around - long, short, short.

So back to the title ... in Morse Code, dash-dot-dot is this is the letter D.  When falling down a wikipedia hole about the dance Bourrée I learned that the rhythm is considered to match that of the poetic meter often found in Greek and Latin poetic verse called Dactyl - a long syllable followed by two short syllables. Perfect! Dactyl it is.

This video shows the main phrase of movement the work is based on. A huge thanks to my lovely dancers Carly Manuel, Karolyn Owens and Ulana Romanish for helping bring this piece to fruition.

Come and see the complete piece at Rhythmfest - Saturday August 9 at 6:30pm at Heritage Park in Barrie ON.



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