Percussion sheet music. Piano Accompaniment sheet music. Translation: Composed by Fabien Levy. For 4 Saxophones. Standard notation. Duration 7 minutes.
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The Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker has always been known for her sensitivity to music, visualizing sound in ways both mathematical and mystical. This intimate conversation between choreographer and composer seemed to merit a conversation between critics versed in different ways of listening and looking. Here are edited excerpts from their conversation.
On Friday, I found the Ictus performance incredibly sensual and, near the end, profoundly moving. I saw a lot of those. What about you? But there were many literal translations from sound into movement: crisp jumps corresponding to jabbing high notes in the flute or piano, or a floppy-limbed, languid pirouette accompanied by fuzzy-toned harmonics in the strings. More generally there was a really quite beautiful manifestation of resonance as movement in the way a gesture done by one dancer would set off smaller movements in another dancer: a subtle incline of the head; a knee floating up.
And I appreciated the clarity of the beginning, given the complexity of everything that followed: how the musicians performed first, alone, and then the dancers took their places, moving in silence, before everyone joined together. We had a chance to process just music and just movement, before taking in both at once. It seemed faintly ominous. In the expressionless faces of the dancers, and the cool distances between them, I never quite saw the human dimension.
Speaking of distance, can we talk about that one outright funny moment? When the pianist and one of the male dancers had this little jostle over possession of the piano bench? I read that each dancer was assigned to respond to a different instrument, and I thought their tussle took that one-to-one correspondence too far. That thought — that there was a one-to-one correspondence — dawned on me only very late in the show. But to me the dancing, though not overtly emotional, was as human as the music, partly because of its simplicity: walking, running, skipping.
And also because of the intensity and spontaneity that the dancers brought to such elemental ways of moving. When one of them broke into a sprint around the outer edges of the space, there was feeling in her sheer force.
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