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Sorry Travis, I didn't mean to upset.
I'm a bit biased towards the dance end of this equation, I guess, as my
wife is a long time choreographer of elegant, complex, and physically
demanding modern dance. (Someone who counts LaLaLa and Sankai Juku as
major influences...if you're familiar with these groups...you know 'that
shit is hard'. Like a musician using someone like Beethoven or Miles as
Anywho... in my opinion, if you want to have the benefit and enjoyment
of the collaboration with modern dance, we, as musicians, are going to
need to bend a bit more, rather than the other way around. Especially
in regards to improv. Improv is often used as an idea generating device
for dance. To try to do it "real-time" can be a number of things,
especially with inexperienced or less-than-stellar dancers. It can be
dangerous. It can be unfruitful. It can be REALLY BAD. I've seen it
be all of these things.
I'm not denying anybody's personal experiences, and I'm sorry if that
came across in regards to you. It's just one thing for musicians to
throw frequencies at each other, and another for a choreographer to be
throwing flesh and bone at each other. I think we need to be
understanding of that.
As for the 'no great effort expended to match the running lengths'
thing...well...that may have been something disrespectful towards you on
the part of the people you worked with. On the other hand, again, I
think we need to bend a bit there. It's quite presumptious to think
that dancers are going to essentially move to a 'click track' of timing
accuracy. Modern dance breathes...it slows down, speeds up. Dynamics
are an essential part of the medium. Thus, sometimes pieces go too
long, or too short. I've seen dancers eliminate whole phrases of a
piece if they've gone over, just so they hit their exit and light cues
right. Just as easily, the choreographer could be steaming at the side
of the stage... "how come you eliminated my last lift?!?"
Plus, there is a boatload of logistics to be taken into account as a
dancer on stage. Don't miss that cue, point your feet, be sure you lift
her about 4 inches from her knee or she'll fall over kind of stuff.
Ever wonder why they don't allow flash photography at dance concerts?
Imagine being blinded while someone is heading at you at a full run and
you're expected to 'catch' them...and make it look good while you're at
Funny you mention Bob Fosse. Because if we want lock-tempo rhythmic
accuracy between music and dance...heck, that's all the rage. Jazz
Dance + stripper/bellydance + plus hip hop popping and locking = Britney
et al. Just add a twist of Antares Auto-Tune and you're all set!
Anyway, time for me to shut up...
From: Travis Hartnett [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2004 5:31 PM
Subject: Re: dancers
Hence the "in my experience..." preface to my comments. I'd attend
rehearsals, and more than half the time no music was used while they
were working up the pieces. There's nothing wrong with this, it's just
a different way of working. But, if as a musician you're expecting
there to be sync between you and the dancers, then you'd be
disappointed. For the live music I provided, they'd usually indicate a
piece of one of my improvised CDs and say "Something in that vein..."
Sometimes I'd get instructions for "build as we got to this point" but
nothing more explicit. These were not Bob Fosse pieces.
I'd put together CD-R's with the program music for these groups also,
and I'd see multiple performances, and there was no great effort
expended to match the running lengths of the pieces many times. If the
dancers "finished" ten or twenty seconds before the music, they made do,
or the soundman would be instructed to quickly fade down the music.
>first off, I think that's not fair to modern dancers to lump them all
in a group and judge them en masse. The same thing could be >said that
"loop based musician's can't perform in real-time with a whole band and
work with tempo changes".
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- Re: dancers
- From: Travis Hartnett <firstname.lastname@example.org>