Reflections on a successful show

Filed under Contemporary Dance, Thoughts

My show with Sara (‘taking your experience for mine’ at the Scotiabank Dance Centre, Apr 29 & 30) is over now. I’m a bit melancholy, as I always am when a major project finishes up, but I’m also glad of the opportunity and happy that I had a chance to work on it.

I think things went well. Attendance was very good on the Friday night, and it was a good, very supportive crowd. Attendance was down a little on Saturday, due to full-price tickets, but the crowd was still very receptive.

The show itself went well, aside from one or two very small hitches in the dance performances; I suppose that’s par for the course. The dancers really pulled things together in the last couple of weeks of rehearsals and are to be commended for all their efforts.

Considering all the technology involved, I am immensely grateful that the technology was not more problematic; we really dodged a bullet on that one!

I feel the dance itself was quite successful and this reviewer seems to agree for the most part. Sara did an amazing job on the choreography and the creative process. She is really developing a unique choreographic language and a distinct voice, and this, her first large-scale evening-length work, worked out quite well.

Most importantly for me, I am very happy about how the music came out. The music in this show was quite a departure for me, as it was much more beat-oriented than most of my music has been for the last 10 years or so. What I noticed was how different the level of enthusiasm was for the music from both the dancers and the audience. In the past, the compliments I have received on my music, whether for dance or for concerts, have tended to be polite and respectful; in this case, I sensed a high level of very genuine enthusiasm. (The word ‘awesome’ was used by at least 3 different people!) I suppose I have always known that rhythmic music is more accessible to general audiences, but this confirmed it for me.

And I feel happy about this enthusiasm because I know that I have earned it without ‘selling out’ as it were. The music for this piece was every bit as planned out, well-thought and composed as any of my other music has been. Further, the rhythmic language used in this work is very much my own, and while the work is heavily influenced by electronic dance music, it never lapses into an easy or stereotyped approach to rhythm. None of the music is in 4/4, and there is some music in which the rhythmic structure is so complex and there are so many contrasting rhythms going on at once, that I couldn’t even tell you what time signature(s) it’s in!

But despite this rhythmic complexity, the music is accessible enough for general audiences to respond to, which has me feel like this is a worthwhile musical direction to pursue in the future.