I had the pleasure of going to see Jonathan Burrows and Adrian
Heathfield last Monday at Toynbee Studio as part of Performance
Burrows mentioned Christian Wolff’s four dictums of writing music:
- A composition must make possible the freedom and dignity of the performer.
- It should allow both concentration and release.
- No sound or noise is preferable to any other sound or noise.
- Listeners should be as free as the players.
They are also listed in a book called ‘Audio Culture – Readings In
Modern Music’, edited by Cox and Warner, which is a mighty fine read.
I was particularly drawn to allowing “both concentration and release” – which is the one that Burrows talked most about on Monday. So much of my training as a choreographer/dancer has been about ‘filling’ an audience with an experience and although I understand that sonic and visual perceptual systems are different, there is something liberating (both as an audience member and a performance maker) about the possibility of allowing for (perhaps even desiring) time and space for ‘release’.
I am currently running (walking?) an MA level module called “Dance Practice as Research”. As part of the early stages of their research, I thought it might be useful for the students to try and write a brief artist’s statement. This has followed a series of short conversations (with each other, with themselves – “self-interviews” – http://www.everybodystoolbox.net/?q=node/43) …
The task was shared as “I’d like you to prepare and share (love a rhyme) an “Artist’s statement” for this blog. It should be a concerted effort to write clearly about your choreographic/performative research interests. Be succinct (3-4 sentences ought to do it).”
The students will start posting in the next couple of days and you can take a look here: http://dpar-autumn2010.posterous.com
As a dancer and choreographer, I’m interested in exploring the psychology of human experience, and particularly ideas related to memory, time and death. I try and keep the audience-performer relationship in the very foreground of my projects. I’ve developed a cross-disciplinary (and highly collaborative) practice – words, movement, mediated image – and am curious how these different activities alter the rhythms of performance, and also the interpretative experiences of audiences.
Me and my Dad (Ian Graham Ellis) – reckon it’s February 1995.
He died in December that year.
He’s looking cheeky, I’ve got a terrible haircut.