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Music as dramaturgy for dance

Preston, Sophia (2011) Music as dramaturgy for dance. Proceedings of the Society of Dance History Scholars 34th Annual International Conference Dance dramaturgy: catalyst, perspective and memory York University and University of Toronto, June 23-26, 2011, 34 . pp. 203-210. [Journal article]

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Mark Morris doesn’t use a dramaturg; he doesn’t need to, because he works so closely with complete music scores with their own pre-set and sophisticated structures. He also does his own research into the origins, associations and external references brought by the music. For example, in Grand Duo (1993) Morris employs both internal structures and external associations of Harrison’s Grand Duo for Violin and Piano to construct a dramaturgy that is at once intriguing (because ambiguous) and satisfyingly coherent. Akram Khan has worked with a dramaturg for all but one of the contemporary dance pieces he has made in the last six years. However, the majority of reviews of his latest work Vertical Road (2010) were in agreement that the powerful and evocative choreography was rendered unclear by an incoherent structure. Mackrell (2010 n.p.) went so far as to say: “the credited dramaturg, hasn't been doing her job.” A comparison of Grand Duo and Vertical Road reveals certain similarities between the two works, including at times an exact matching of dance and music reminiscent of Khan’s other professional dance form, Kathak. There are also a number of differences, however, including that Harrison’s music was an existing concert work whereas Sawhney’s score was written in collaboration with Khan and his creative team. My contention is that Sawhney’s music was too accommodating, that it requires a certain independence of structure and intention, perhaps an element of counterpoint and even “counter-pull”, for music to act as a support for the dramaturgy of dance.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Arts
Faculty of Arts > School of Creative Arts and Technologies
Research Institutes and Groups:Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Arts and Humanities Research Institute > Creative Arts and Technologies
ID Code:20532
Deposited By: Dr Sophia Preston
Deposited On:02 Dec 2011 14:15
Last Modified:17 Oct 2017 16:01

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