As the composer and sound designer, my journey with Echoes Within The Earth was a otherworldly adventure into the heart of nature and what lies perhaps beyond. Working closely with Chris Pavia, a resident choreographer at Stopgap Dance Company, I had the privilege of composing a soundtrack that would transport our audience into the mysterious depths of the woodlands. The entire process was a harmonious collaboration between two creative minds, merging the enchanting sounds of nature, the allure of retro synth tracks, and the intrigue of unidentified cosmic sounds.
Chris Pavia, the choreographer behind this outdoor dance piece, drew inspiration from his own childhood experiences in the South Downs National Parks. The woodlands, a place where his youthful imagination ran wild, became the canvas upon which he painted the story of “Echoes Within The Earth.”
One of my favorite aspects of the project was working with Chris to bring his vision to life. He shared his ideas about the sounds of spaceships and the mysteries that lurk within the woods. One of the first things we tackled was creating a sense of wonder and exploration through the music. The result was a fast-paced, uplifting retro synth track that would set the dancers on their journey into the unknown.
But we didn’t stop there. To keep the dance grounded in the beauty of human life and connection, we incorporated acoustic guitar music into the soundtrack. This balance between the electronic and the acoustic served as a reflection of the juxtaposition of nature’s grandeur and the intimacy of human emotions.
The sound design a crucial element of the show. It featured the soothing rustling of leaves in the wind and other natural sounds, seamlessly intertwined with mysterious, unsettling sounds that kept both the dancers and the audience on their toes. The effect was an intriguing and immersive experience, as the dancers moved through the woods, not quite sure where the sound was coming from, just like the characters in the story.
“I really enjoyed the fact it was an immersive experience. I loved the fact that it was out in nature but I also love the fact that the music reflected the nature, you could almost hear the heartbeat of the trees.”Audience Member
But what truly made “Echoes Within The Earth” a magical experience was its immersive nature. The audience was invited to embark on a promenade dance journey through natural spaces, led by two adventurers. These characters, initially apart, would eventually find each other in their pursuit of a mysterious echo, creating a sense of unity and connection amidst the wonders of the woodlands.
Chris beautifully encapsulated the impact of the music on the dancers: “When the dancers are dancing, it makes them feel like we’re actually going to explore everything that’s part of the woods.” His collaboration with me, merging spaceship sounds and natural wonder, proved to be a captivating choice. The dancers, guided by the music, were in constant search of the source of the sound, creating an enthralling sense of mystery and anticipation.
“When the dancers are dancing it, [the music] makes them feel like where actually going to explore everything that’s part of the woods, and when Dougie came in I combined like all the ideas of like spaceship sounds, and the mysterious sounds, that really worked. The dancers don’t really know where the sound is coming from. They’re thinking it’s coming from above them or below them, and they’re searching for it.”Chris Pavia, choreographer and director
One audience member perfectly summed up the experience: “I really enjoyed the fact it was an immersive experience. I loved the fact that it was out in nature, but I also love the fact that the music reflected the nature; you could almost hear the heartbeat of the trees.”