Studies for Bells

Three studies for my choreographic investigation into bells during 2018-2019, culminating in my evening length work “Tribute to Angels” at the Shed.

These shorter works took place at the Judson Church, Brooklyn Ballet, and Triskelion Arts.

Triskelion Arts Split Bill Series: February 2019

This was my third iteration in my studies for bells, going deeper into my desire to choreograph sound by mapping the resonance of the bell onto the phrase material itself. Additionally, I was exploring how to translate the back-and-forth physicality of the bell, the sonic pendulum that never returns to the same exact place sonically, onto the dancing body in the time-space matrix. Sometimes the choreography gave the bells a "beat", chopping the continuous sounds into smaller units, making them sound like a continuous, sine wave-like tone. This choreographic mode gave the sound of the bells different "weights," which in turn affected the way the audience related to those sounds. The foot-falls and the bells danced in counterpoint creating an entirely new music of bodies.

Performers: Anna Witenberg, Rochelle Jamila Wilbun, Miriam Gabriel, Rachel GIll, Ambika Raina

Music: Charlemagne Palestine Music for Big Ears

Movement Research at the Judson Church
December 10, 2018

This was my second study of bells presented at the Judson Church and in this sample you can see how I was attempting to map out the structure of the bell onto the body choreographically. Each dancer repeatedly "tolls" in varying ways, causing the landscape and other dancers to ripple and ring in subtly shifting ways. Every element in this piece intones, tolls, rings, and resonates through the landscape in a highly formed structure that allows the ear and eye to rove, rest, and attend to each of these relationship as they unfold. This piece seeks to embody the "calling to attention" property of a bell, which rips through our normal experience of time and space and calls us towards deeper and more complex perception.

Video by Quentin Burley

Performers : Ambika Raina, Gwendolyn Knapp, Rochelle Jamila Wilbun, Miriam Gabriel, Anna Witenberg, Rachel Gill, Savannah Lyons Anthony

Brooklyn Ballet First Look July 20-21 2018

A first draft of my ongoing investigation of music and its resonance in space, time, and the body. Responding to bells as objects and as instruments I ask: What is the nature of bells? How do they determine composition musically and choreographically? What do they evoke? Will I resist their religious and spiritual implications in order to bring out a yet undiscovered quality inherent in them, or will I lean in to those implications and find a way to innovate even inside of these ancient objects? I explore their properties,  peculiarities, and  possibilities in opening new vistas within a choreographic space.

Performers:  Rachel Gill, Miriam Gabriel, Gwendölyn Knapp, Savannah Lyons Anthony, Rochelle Jamila, Anna Witenberg, and Ambika Raina

Film Credit: Carlos Cardona