Music as dramaturgy for dance

Sophia Preston

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    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.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages203-210
    JournalProceedings 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
    Volume34
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2011

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    Dance
    Dramaturgy
    Music
    Duo
    Roads
    Counterpoint
    Contemporary Dance
    Concert
    Kathak
    Choreography
    Intentions
    Violin

    Cite this

    Preston, S. (2011). Music as dramaturgy for dance. 34, 203-210.
    Preston, Sophia. / Music as dramaturgy for dance. 2011 ; Vol. 34. pp. 203-210.
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    abstract = "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.",
    author = "Sophia Preston",
    note = "Reference text: Music as dramaturgy for dance: Bibliography Cattaneo, Anne ‘Dramaturgy: An Overview’ in Susan Jonas, Geoff Proehl etc. pp3-15 Clapperton, Guy ‘Get ready for a mash-up’ in The Guardian Friday February 15th 2008 n.p. Corbett, John ‘Experimental Oriental: New Music and Other Others’ in Born, G. & Hesmondhalgh, D. (eds) Western Music and its others Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2000 pp163-186 Damsholt, Inger ‘Mark Morris, Mickey Mouse and choreo-musical polemic’ in The Opera Quarterly Vol.22 No.1 (2007) pp4-21 Duerden, Rachel ‘Predictability and inevitability in dance-music relationships in Mark Morris’s Falling Down Stairs’ in Dance Chronicle Vol. 39 No.2 (2008) pp239-257 Gann, Kyle American music in the twentieth century Mason, Ohio: Cengage, 2006 Jennings, Luke Mark Morris Dance Group review The Observer November 1st 2009 no pagination Jennings, Luke ‘Akram Khan Company: Vertical Road’ The Observer September 19th 2010 no pagination Jonas, Susan, Geoff Proehl and Michael Lupu (eds) Dramaturgy in American Theatre: A source book Fort Worth, Philadelphia, San Diego, New York, Orlando, Austin, San Antonio, Toronto, Montreal, London, Sydney, Tokyo: Harcourt Brace, 1997 Khadarina, Oksana ‘Mark Moprris Dance Group: The Argument, Sang-Froid, Candleflowerdance, Grand Duo’ review in Ballet magazine March 2007 Khan, Akram ‘Vertical Road rehearsals at the Curve Week 2 - part 2’ at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm0wsdZS-ac&feature=related 2010 last accessed on June 15th 2011 no pagination Luckhurst, Mary Dramaturgy: a revolution in theatre Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, Sao Paolo: Cambridge University Press 2008 Mackrell, Judith ‘Akram Khan Company’ The Guardian 17 September 2010 no pagination Marriott, Bruce ‘Akram Khan Company Vertical Road October 2010 Sadler’s Wells’ Ballet Magazine November 2010 no pagination Miller, Leta, E. & Fredric Lieberman Composing a world: Lou Harrison, musical wayfarer Oxford University Press, 1998, 2004 Morris, Mark Interview with Charlie Rose and James Levine ‘Charlie Rose Show’ 2007a available on MMDG website http://markmorrisdancegroup.org/resources/media/3-interviews/5-charlie-rose-show last accessed July 21 2011 no pagination Morris, Mark Talking and rehearsing on ‘Notes for a Dancer’ Youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S25Ud7ZWu7I&feature=related 2007b last accessed on July 21st 2011 no pagination Morris, Mark Interview with Gigi Yellen for On the Boards, Seattle 2007/8 http://markmorrisdancegroup.org/resources/media/3-interviews last accessed on 4 May 2010 Morris, Mark Interview with Sophia Preston at the Mark Morris Dance Center Brooklyn N.Y. March 14th 2011 no pagination Preston, Sophia `Echoes and pre-echoes: the displacement of time in Mark Morris’s Dido and Aeneas' in Dancing in the Millennium: Proceedings Society of Dance History Scholars 23rd Annual Conference, Washington, July 19-23, 2000, University of California, Riverside, 2000 pp344-348 Rich, Alan American Pioneers: Ives to Cage and Beyond London and New York: Phaidon, 2008 Turner, Cathy ‘Dramaturgy and the scene of recognition’ presented at Palatine workshop at Queen’s University, Belfast January 14th 2011 no pagination – also available at http://expandeddramaturgies.com/?cat=31 Turner, Cathy and Synne K. Behrndt dramaturgy and performance Palgrave Macmillan London and New York: 2008 Winship, Lyndsey Mark Morris Dance Group: Grand Duo, I Don't Want to Love, V, Peccadillos review October 21, 2010 - Sadler's Wells, London no pagination",
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    Preston, S 2011, 'Music as dramaturgy for dance', vol. 34, pp. 203-210.

    Music as dramaturgy for dance. / Preston, Sophia.

    Vol. 34, 25.06.2011, p. 203-210.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    Preston S. Music as dramaturgy for dance. 2011 Jun 25;34:203-210.