Based entirely on overlays of a single motive from West African drumming music, the Six Dances make formidable rhythmic demands on the performer. Within the dense post-minimalist textures, each piece explores a particular keyboard register and has its own distinctive character.
In the first dance, a call-and-response design is used, with a lyrical solo alternating with a chorus.
In the second, an expansive and lyrical music is created by superimposing four contrasting musical themes in various configurations.
In the third, a theme gradually emerges from a repeating bass rhythmic pattern.
The fourth presents a soft and wistful melody with a jangly accompaniment, reminiscent of a saloon piano.
The fifth is a manic dance with crosscuts of many variations of the same theme.
The sixth gradually ascends to the highest register of the piano
Six Dances is dedicated to Michael Kieran Harvey.