Night at the Theatre with Tim Casson and Stopgap Dance

Last week I finished my second contemporary dance soundtrack of the year. This time it was for the lovely and talented Tim Casson who has made a family friendly piece on Stopgap‘s SG2 Company, called Night at the Theatre.

It’s a show about three unlikely characters (Hannah Sampson, Nadenh Poan and Connor Quill) accidentally stumbling into a theatre and becoming the stars of their own show. It has some hilarious moments in it, and some really beautiful dancing.

The set and lighting design is spectacular- creating the beautiful illusion of an old abandoned  theatre. I’ve tried to match this with a sound design which includes creaking floorboard, and a draughty atmosphere. When the music for each section fades away the characters are always left in this sound design.

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Me (left) watching the dancers rehearse

Some of the highlights are Dan’s dreamy solo (pictured at the top) which I created a track with windchimes and glockenspiels for, and Hannah’s Disco which has more funk than you can shake a stick at.

SG2 are an integrated dance company run by Stopgap, which means that their dancers are a mix of disabled and non-disabled dancers. I’ve worked with Nadenh and Hannah before when we worked with George Adams on Integrance a European cultural commission for disabled dancers. Both Hannah and Nadenh are really skilled dancers, so it was great to work with them again, and inspiring to see how much they continue to improve.

Hannah was recently featured in a BBC article praising her abilities as a dance teacher with Down’s Syndrome.

Here are some shots I took during production week.

 

Thank you Vilnius!

I had an amazing time performing at the New Baltic Dance Festival last week in Vilnius, Lithuania. It’s a beautiful, and green capital city, and i really enjoyed my stayed there. The festival was really well organised, and it was great to perform to such a great audience.

It was an honour for me to play the piano live for Ieva Kuniskis‘s piece, He Lived Next Door, a solo dance piece featuring the incredible Darius Stankevicius. The music is a hesitant piano piece written in the style of a Russian waltz, and adds to the grandeur of Darius’s incredible movement.

Here’s a short excerpt from our performance at Wilton’s Music Hall in 2014

The Turbine Hall

Following my hugely enjoyable and successful collaboration with Japanese dance artist Aya Kobayashi at the Tate Britain last October (see blog post), we were delighted that the Tate Families team asked us to be part of a new project at the Tate Modern this February. Inspired by Richard Tuttle’s ‘I Don’t Know‘ we created a piece which allowed families to respond to the huge waves of fabric across the Turbine Hall. Taking weaving as our inspiration we choreographed a large scale flocking performance which people of all ages and abilities could take part in. The participants were split into four groups and given sticks with coloured fabric, so that as the groups flocked through the hall they weaved patterns across the space.

The whole performance was controlled by children speaking directions into a giant tin can phone. The directions tell each group how to move, and each group has two dancers who show the families how to respond. The giant tin-can-phone was made by placing a contact microphone at the bottom of the can, which picks up the vibrations of people talking into it. This gives the same effect as the sound travelling along a string between two tin cans, but allows us to amplify the sound through speakers across the hall. I played a live piano improvisation inspired by bird songs which I developed into short piano motifs, played in response to the tin can phone directions.

 

BP Family Festival- Tate Britain

Tate Britain is one of the most inspiring places I may ever get to work in my life. ‘Reclining Figure 2014′ was a collaboration with London based Japanese dance artist Aya Kobayashi commissioned for the BP Family Festival at Tate Britain. Set in the Henry Moore room, fabric costumes transformed members of the public into living and moving Henry Moore sculptures.

20 participants each hour became mini Henry Moore’s, and went on a movement journey exploring the magnificent sculpture around the room, with live music for dance (by yours truly). I also filmed and edited a dance film during our rehearsals which followed the performers’ journey with the sculptures. I would love to be able to share this film with you, but because it contains Henry Moore’s Art work it I am currently in discussion with the team from Tate on how we overcome the copywrite complications of the film.

Tate Family Festival- Photo Oli Cowling

Dougie Evans playing live at Tate Britain

Antechamber- Short Dance Film

Really excited to be finally able to share a short dance film that I’ve written the music for, called Antechamber. It was produced by Wigglyline Productions and features contemporary dancers Rosa Kentwood, Hayley Barker, and Janina Smith. It is beautiful and grotesque, and the production quality is exceptionally good. The movement was improvised on the day and it think the dancers have done a brilliant job of capturing the surreal atmosphere of the piece in their movement. I really enjoyed composing the music for this film, and then adding some glitchy sound design to it. There are already plans to organise more dance films with Wigglyline in the future, so watch this space…

ANTECHAMBER from Wigglyline Productions on Vimeo.

Ready or Not

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After an electric week in Eastleigh, the soundtrack to Commotion Dance’s new piece has been finished. It’s always fun composing for a new company, and even more so when the company develop contemporary dance pieces for young audiences.

‘Ready Or Not’ takes a peek at a world of hide and seek. With dancing, music and all things round, where things are lost and then are found. For children aged 3-7 and their grown ups, ‘Ready Or Not’ will premiere on the 21st of June at The Point in Eastleigh.

Tickets / The Point
Commotion Dance