18 November 2009
Being a fan of contemporary dance and a composer of contemporary music, I have always wanted to write music for contemporary dance. When the opportunity arose to participate in Choreosound 09 - an artistic lab exploring relationships between contemporary dance and music - I pounced. Not only was Choreosound going to take place in Gothenburg, Sweden, I was also going to have the chance to meet and work with dancers and choreographers from around the world!
Before Choreosound took place (24 September - 1 October 2009), the artistic director of the project, choreographer Marika Hedemyr posed a list of questions including 'What happens in the collaborations of contemporary dance and contemporary music today?' and 'What relationships do dance and music have towards each other in a performance?' During the eight days of Choreosound, these and other questions about working methods for collaborations between choreographers and composers were discussed and debated.
A typical Choreosound day started with a morning masterclass before the thirty participants were divided into groups consisting of one composer, one choreographer, two musicians and two dancers. We were given between 3-6 hours to work on a piece that was then shown to the whole group in the evening. The composers and choreographers talked about their working methods and any problems that were encountered. At the end of the week, a public demo of our work including a piece I created with German choreographer Stephanie Schober, was shown at the 'Pustervik' venue in central Gothenburg. The work Stephanie and I created was minimalist-inspired and made from layers of number patterns. The music I wrote was performed live on marimba, percussion, inside of piano and thumb piano.
I had a great time at Choreosound 09 and particularly enjoyed exploring rhythmic concepts with the choreographers, including the use of additive rhythm, odd time signatures and the use of metric modulations. Working with the dancers and choreographers gave me valuable insights into their world and has definitely made me more interested in writing music for contemporary dance in the future. I also made some excellent contacts that may lead to future collaborations or performances of my compositions.
© Australian Music Centre (2009) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
Amanda Cole is a Sydney-based composer. She has a BMus and PhD in composition from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her compositions feature microtonal structures, interference beats and fusions of electronic and acoustic timbres.
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