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Gestures of Music TheaterThe Performativity of Song and Dance$
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Dominic Symonds and Millie Taylor

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199997152

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199997152.001.0001

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From Ear to Foot

From Ear to Foot

How Choreographers Interpret Music

(p.226) Chapter 14 From Ear to Foot
Gestures of Music Theater

Sabine Wilden

Oxford University Press

With the aim of exploring the relationship between music and dance, and in particular, exploring choreographers’ diverse methods when working with music, two studies were executed. For the first, fourteen professional choreographers participated in a survey including general questions about how they use music when choreographing, and specific questions concerning four short musical tracks taken from Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet. Responses demonstrated choreographers’ multifaceted approaches to incorporating music in their dance creations. Nevertheless, answers showed striking consistency in how individual musical passages would be interpreted. In a second, exploratory study, five student choreographers created and performed a solo dance to a complete musical piece. The music and the videotaped dance performances were analyzed for rhythmic, articulative, structural, and thematic qualities to ascertain which elements in the music predominantly influence choreographers.

Keywords:   music–dance relationships, music perception, analytical choreography, intuitive choreography, George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor, Richard Alston, String Quartet

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