Sunday, 28 June 2015

Charlotte New Music Festival, USA: Day 13

Unlucky for some (day 13), but not for us - Saturday was, for most of us a chilled out day. No lessons, no presentations, just rehearsals for the composers taking part in the co-lab music and dance concert (which I'll talk about shortly).

#bantermobile - aka, team awesome! Gonna miss you guys!
First, I want to talk about the joy that was the #bantermobile. Jeffery Nicholas, Daniel Choi and myself made up the core of this epic machine, with a rotating 4th member, who most often was Clay Allen. You boys picked me up from the airport, and the epic adventures began - sing-a-longs to everything from John Adams to John Denver, hit-on-and-runs from gay men (who you can now elope with quite happily Jeff!), and of course, the streams of epically witty banter.
- We spent our afternoon mooching round the arty-bohemian district of Charlotte: used books stores, record shops, vintage clothing - heaven for me! But we also spent the afternoon dodging the absolutely bucketing rain. A little taste can be viewed on my instragram:
https://instagram.com/p/4emxQZhkJG/?taken-by=lydiajpugh

Col-lab com#posers
The Dance Co-Lab was a project that some of the composers were undertaking for the run of this workshop, some solely, some whilst also taking part in the speedwriting or other commissions/concerts. Essentially, these composers have collaborated with a choreographer to create pieces that consisted of both new music and new dance. From speaking to those taking part in this project, it's pretty clear that it's had a profound impact on all of them. As part of the collaboration the composers were required to attend dance classes, but also at one point choreograph, and at the same time the choreographers had to compose, which I think was an amazing role-reversal which I'm sure helped everyone understand each other a little better. Both Trey Makler and Calvin Hitchcock told me that they found the process somewhat life changing, and everyone I've talked to from this project just seems to have really enjoyed every minute of it, and are now inspired to continue to write for dance. I think, should I ever decide to do this festival again, I would want to partake in the Co-Lab, give myself a new challenge.

The final concert of the workshop was indeed the Dance Concert, where the rest of us got to experience the hard work and fruits of our fellow composers labour, and one final performance from Great Noise Ensemble. It was amazing to see, essentially, two minds meld and work as one to create some beautiful performance art. Some collaborations were better than others in my opinion: when I watch dance I want to see the choreography work with the music, and the dancers really feel and understand the music, otherwise what's the point of the music being there? In particular, I have to give a massive congratulations to Cody Brookshire and his choreographer for their piece "Quiver" - for me, this demonstrated the perfect blend of music and dance, and Cody's use of electronics, both in sound and theatricality (as the dancers themselves controlled the electronics) was inspired. Absolutely one of the high points, and an amazing way to round of the concerts and workshops for the Charlotte New Music festival.
Composers, Choreographers and musicians