dance & electronics
Music: Raquel García-Tomás
Choreography: Fabian Reimair
World Premiere: 3 May 2013
English National Ballet
The Place (London)
[co][hes][ion] is a work which was premiered with the English National Ballet’s ‘Choreographics – A letter to…’project, where I collaborated with First Soloist Fabian Reimair.
Work concept – Collaborative Aims
From the outset, Fabian and I worked according to a structure based exclusively on concepts related to movement, avoiding any sense of hierarchy: our idea was to create both the music and the choreography simultaneously, instead of creating the music first and the choreography after.
To compose this work, I functioned in a very unexpected manner, which was particularly connected with the use of technology. As Fabian had already created a short series of steps I considered this material an initial source of inspiration. When I first watched the video of it, I could imagine the music very easily; the choreography had very clear materials, direction and tempo.
There was a strong central concept built through repetition and variation. Furthermore, the choreography had a well defined and evolving discourse, which made me think that I could try to compose part of my music literally after his steps.
Deciding an appropriate medium to build our work, I imported the video file to Logic Pro and began translating all the movements into musical material. For example, the sweep of the male dancer’s hand in a series of puppeteer-like gestures during the [co] section directly influenced the gradients of the high-pitched glissandi, and how they paused with his movements.
At that stage, my main concern was not only to identify the gestures and the tempo of the choreography but also to articulate them into a continuous and progressive musical shape. Every gesture and movement was empowered by the music and the result was both attractive and continuous. This procedure was very helpful in deciding which was the best compositional approach to adopt for this collaboration.
We agreed to work with three main different materials, each one of them using a male-female duo of dancers. The first, called [co], is about non-contact manipulation. The second, [hes], operates as a refrain that reappears three times during the piece between sections. It is a delayed pattern that evolves toward a unison represented with both the music and dance. The third idea is called [ion] which, in contrast to [co], the dancers never stop touching each other. All them together form the word [co][hes][ion]: the act or state of cohering, or a tendency to unite.
The work had further sections than the principal materials described above. Once we had these three materials clear, I completed the work under a coherent macro-structure. Even if some parts of the music were initially created after the choreography, this procedure was not applied to the whole work.
The processes entailed in the composition of this work exemplify how enriching it can be to reconsider one’s pre-established creative processes. Adapting choreographic material to music and making it coherent in itself has been an effective creative strategy to avoid disconnection between these two worlds.
We sought to create a coherent and indivisible work that combined music and dance and translated movement vocabulary into music, finding an appropriate syntax for the piece and, concerning myself, learning from the choreographer sense of gesture.