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Rustikas Ephemerales 2015

Michele Medina

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Published: June 19, 2015 at 6:30 AM [UTC]

I reworked a modern dance and movement piece that I have been working on for a few years. It's movement to a selection of Bartok's 44 Violin Duos. I'm grateful to the people who collaborated with me in this piece, and it turned out very different than when I did it the first time in 2012. In that particular performance, I had one male dancer who improvised to the sounds, and we had played different movements. It was a start to a vision that I had, and will still keep working on.

This time I had three dancers one of which helped me get ideas on paper, and was very eager to participate. Everyone was, in fact. It's great to see people who are experimental enough to go for something like this.

The piece begins with Hay Song, a sparkling and transparent poetic sound. The dancers move in a diagonal with each other. Hay Song is followed by Slovakian Song and Ruthenian song, both somber and folkloric pieces, continuing with the diagonal form. The dancers then move the music stands in the defined diagonal.

Wedding Song begins the second set, which is mainly improvised with graceful movement. Bride's Farewell is dissonant and jagged, and I suggested to the dancers to move like stiff zombies. Limping song was one of the most delightful pieces of the rehearsals, often ending in laughter and comments describing how fun it is to dance to these pieces. It became known as "merry-go-round" when we communicated during rehearsals.

For the final set, we begin with Sorrows, and the dancers are in excruciating poses, and moving to the climax of the piece. New Year's #2 ended up as many of our favorites. Since reading the folk song originating the composed piece, the original folk song describes the heavens, so in my interpretation, one dancer dances as if she were a star in the sky, while the other two observe the heavens dreamily. Then the two dancers become the stars, while the single dancer gazes up at the sky. Suddenly the two dancers assertively pull the other dancer who was lying down, and they all explode into folk dancing with a modern twist. More laughter during rehearsals occurred while deciding how everyone was going to end, and it ended up being flashy and also creating much laughter from us and the audience.

I have other ideas for different movements. I would like to keep performing these over the next few years, and work with more dancers. It was interesting working with dancers, since I'm mainly a violinist, and as one pointed out, I "know the music so well". I wasn't sure how to communicate my ideas, but the ladies were excited and helpful. We made up names to each of the pieces, I learned a lot about communicating about something completely different than I am used to. Next time I do this, I will probably get a separate violinist so that I can direct better and take in the experience, but it's hard to let go of my idea without being the one performing. It's something that I learned after working with some of these dancers. Many times they will choreograph, and have somebody else dance. Maybe I should just clone myself so I can do everything! But this was an amazing experience, and I'm sure that I'll do it again!

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