Project – Christine S

Description: Christine Shaw –

I would like to create a piece centered around the idea of instruction (which is a great word in itself and the word alone offers up a lot of material). How do we translate from medium to medium and how do we give instructions? What does it sound like, look like, feel like to convey how to do some task? What are the dictions between showing something to someone and telling them?

I would like to begin by creating a dance based on an instructional video, preferably for a fairly obscure task, but one that would incorporate the whole body. It would probably ultimately become stylized movements, not just task, but they would be generated from watching an instructional video.

Then I will work from a set of prerecorded movements using objects (inspired form Annie B. Hall’s work) (either my own improv, or preferably someone else’s if they have one with objects) and generate a set of written instructions.

I will then interlace the movement generated from instructions with the instructions generated from the movement.

I also want to play around with the sounds that serve as instructions, such as when a dancer is told something like, “Do the ‘boooom, ahhh, flick, down, shhh, ha’ part.” I would like to music to use a variety of these types of abstract vocal instructions that live somewhere between speech and movements. But I want it remain relatively melodic and really move as the dance does. Perhaps it sounds just like classical beautiful music sometimes, yet it somehow is also an instruction driving the dance.

Mostly this will focus on the pushing together of performing tasks and how we figure out how to do those tasks.

Response: Alex Vourtsanis –

Hi Christine,

Your ideas about instruction sound really interesting. I think that the fact that you envision the piece with melodic and flowing music is also a really interesting choice for the movements you have described, and that it will complement the physical aspect of the piece really nicely. When I read about your piece, the idea of engaging, but atmospheric music (definitely at times beautiful and classical) with warm melodic content is what first came to mind, with some kind of musical “patching” happening as you interlace the movement and instructions together.

In terms of the actual composition of the music, I’d like to work closely with you to really understand the mood/genre/affect that you’re imagining for your piece. I mostly write pretty tonal/accessible music, either instrumental/orchestral or electronic (House, Drum and Bass, etc.) but I would be willing to get out of my comfort zone and write totally different music. The way that you write about pushing together and interweaving different tasks also suggests to me that doing the same musically by interlacing totally separate genres/affects/moods could be really effective and interesting.

Alex Vourtsanis

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