>> neither commotion nor ceremony
It’s not a piece about feelings. It’s not a piece about emotions or a story line. It’s about paths in space.
Neither Commotion nor Ceremony was inspired by the paintings of Alfons Hoppenbrouvens’ called Harmonic Sequences, and of Kenneth Martins’ Chance and Order.
The idea was to create moments of chaos in space, repetitions of patterns, replacement of gestures, and lines that cross the space in different planes and directions.
The dancers were given three main movement sequences: the first sequence had movement of straight, long arms; the second sequence had predominantly flexible, bend arm gestures; the third sequence was a mixture of the others but with another element, the floor. Once they learned the sequences, they were asked to fit them into thirteen counts, always addressing sixty beats per minute.
The next step was to break the original sequences into shorter ones, always work with prime numbers. That means, one sequence of eleven counts, one of seven counts, of five, of three, and of two. Then, they should create different orders of presenting their sequences, but always thinking of sums of thirteen. For example, a sequence of three counts, followed by a sequence of seven, and another sequence of three. In this manner, the Composition gained a clear structure to be followed.
Back and forth. Go and come back. Advance and retrograde. And combine all of them together. This is the idea behind Sincopados. For this piece, we took one bar of Béla Bartók’s „Syncopation“ and created a small movement phrase that rhythmically fit the melody.
The second step was to reverse both music and movement, a very detailed work that required concentration and patience, especially when dealing with movement. What does an accent look like, when you retrograde it? What about a slide? How can a dancer coordinate movements? The music and movement phrases were then divided into bar of 9 counts, which were then cut down into bars of 4 and 5. Again, the playing around with numbers, building up sequences, adding pauses and repetitions was present, making a real challenging game out of this piece.
The melody in Béla Bartók’s piece „Bagpipes“ was the starting point of this composition. The different possibilities of understanding the musicality, the different ways in which dancers count work on counts were the basis of the puzzle.
After setting bars of 24 beats, the dancers played around with phrases of 8, 6, 4, 3 and 2 counts, which they created themselves, based on a previously proposed movement sequence. As each dancer had the freedom to create the sequences as they wished, it is intriguing to see the combinations, the moments of coincidences and the harmony in the movement combinations. After all, the purpose of this composition is to create shifts in the musicality of the movement, adding different qualities each time a gesture is thought through, analyses and changed.
>> dances for sevens
Dances for sevens are inspired by Béla Bartók’s „Dance in Bulgarian Rhythm N.2“. More specifically, it was inspired by the study of repetitions of graphic elements in piece’s score sheet.
After seeking visual patterns, one single sequence of seven beats was chosen to be repeated in a new composition. Added to that, dance sequences of seven counts based on folks dance were created. The sequences can be danced in different orders, repeated, alternated, etc.
>> dance perspectives
Direct and indirect gestures, free and bound flows, fingertips leading or arm surfaces guiding. Those are some terms used in modern dance, especially in the Jooss-Leeder Method, traditionally taught at Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany.
They can inform so much about the quality and precision of a gesture and establish a very assertive communication in the mediation of dance. But what happens to a movement when we make a variation in perspective, like changing the front? How does a movement change, when switching from Frontal to Sagittal Planes? What about a change of levels, how does it influence the path in space of a gesture? In dance perspectives we looked at the traces a movement leaves, starting from a very simple movement sequence that creates constant front changes in repetition. It is an analytical tool that shows how movement and graphic design can be brought together.
>> research - gestures and paths in space
Can a gesture always repeat the same path in space? Are the patterns created by a gesture always identical? How can we design lines, curves, connecting points in space? How does the quality of the movement affect its design, and vice-versa?
In this research we experimented with these questions and explored them through touch, through distance, involvement of the whole body or of isolated body parts, verbal and non-verbal communication, etc.