KINETIC LISTENING OF HEARD MOVEMENT
When we think about music we naturally focus on the sound and what we can hear. And likewise with dance we think most about what we can see. But these designations - hearing sound, seeing movement - defy the true experience we have when we observing these performances. Don't the musician's bodies inhabit the space? Aren't many sounds the result of some kind of movement? Do we close our ears when we watch dance? We understand that certain disciplines are stronger in one medium over another - but can we learn new things if we stretch beyond these normal constructs and hear the movement or watch the sound?
Join us for an exploration into the blurry edges of music and dance, the physicality of sound and the sonic possibilities of movement. French musician Pascal Battus will be joined by two Americans - Saxophonist Jack Wright and Pittsburgh's Michael Johnsen - for a kinetic but dancer less trio; percussionist Toshi Makihara and dancer / choreographer Leah Stein will finally make their long awaited duo appearance; plus a debut performance of composer and improviser Troy Herion's duo with dancer, choreographer, and Headlong co-artistic director David Brick.
Pascal Battus uses the pick-ups of a guitar to extract sounds from a crazy range of electric (e-bows, Walkmen, hand-held fans and various kitchen appliances) and mechanical (springs, rulers, tubes, dowels) objects. "Playing for him is a process of exploration, sonic research", writes Dan Warburton (Paris Transatlantic). He continues: "The sounds Battus makes are at times quite extraordinary, and I'm often left scratching my head as to how they're produced...fine, representative example of everything I find positive and exciting in today's improvised music."
Jack Wright is one of the world's most experienced (he has been a full-time saxophonist of strange music since the late 70's) and well-traveled free improvisers and a regular on the Bowerbird concert series. He plays both tenor and soprano sax, but in ways that would be pretty surprising to most.
Michael Johnsen is most known for his arsenal of small analog electronic devices which are usually hidden under a maze of patch cables. All of this extensive patching creates some rather idiosyncratic and transient sounds during live performance - but Michael embraces complex interactions and sometimes failing modes, embracing the dirt in pure electronics. As an antidote to all that wire, he is equally devoted to the singing (bowed) saw, a simple folk instrument.
Certainly among the most ubiquitous and celebrated of dance / music collaborations in the region, Leah Stein and Toshi Makihara began collaborating 1987 with what Toshi refers to as the "cabbage piece". They have since created an enormous body of work, most notably with the Leah Stein Dance Company. Their work typically implores an inventive use of space, often exploring acoustic and architectural details, usually with a subtle sense of humor and playfulness. In performance, both Leah and Toshi are extremely accustom to throwing of the limitations of their designated roles of "dancer" or "musician", exchanging sound making and moving in a manner so rarely convincing.
Troy Herion is a composer, sound designer, musical director and improviser.
His compositions bring together interests in fields relating to biology,
metaphysics, traditional cultures, drama, and improvisation. Compositions
include two Italian operas, symphonic and chamber works, and improvised
scores. Dramatic collaborations have included music for International
Opera Theater, Pig Iron Theatre, The Wilma Theater, The Arden Theatre, and
Azuka Theater. His work for theater has garnered him two Barrymore Award
nominations for Outstanding Sound Design and Oustanding Musical Direction
and Philadelphia Weekly pronounced his work Best Sound Design of 2006. In
the summer of 2008 Troy was awarded an Independence Foundation Fellowship
to study and perform gamelan music in Bali, Indonesia with the world
renowned Cudamani ensemble. Troy is a finalist for the F. Otto Haas
Emerging Artist Award and the NEA/TGC Career Development Fellowship and is
the recipient of the Perkins Prize of Princeton University. Troy has
taught as a visiting artist at Swarthmore College and Drexel University.
David Brick is Co-Founder and Co-Director of Headlong Dance Theater, a collaborative, contemporary dance company based in Philadelphia. Since 1993, Headlong has created over forty dances performed nationally and internationally at places like the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, Dance Theater Workshop, PICA's Time Based Art Festival, Mass MoCA, PS 122, and the Yale Festival of Arts and Ideas among others. The wide range of Headlong's work springs from a deep commitment to collaboration, humor, and formal experimentation. David received an Independence Foundation Fellowship in 2005 and in 2006 he was named a Pew Fellow in the Arts. David often conspires with theater artist Dan Rothenberg and has co-created works with Pig Iron Theatre Company and Emmanuelle Delpeche. He also conceived and Co-Directed WIND-UP, a choreographic play inspired by the writings of Haruki Murakami and Tim O'Brien as a guest artist in Princeton University's Atelier program with collaborators Rothenberg and Mimi Lien. He performs frequently for choreographer Nichole Canuso. David has served on the faculty of the American Dance Festival since 2008 and taught workshops in movement and composition at the Volcano Conservatory in Toronto, Canada. He has taught Dance Composition at Bryn Mawr College since 1998 and regularly teaches contact improvisation in various settings.