IN CHOREOGRAPHED MOVEMENTS
THE OBERLIN COLLEGE Theater and Dance department concluded its spring 2000 subscription series with a shared concert of the Oberlin Dance Company (ODC) and the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME) on May 6 and 7 in Hall Auditorium.
"I've always wanted to choreograph musicians," says Carter McAdams, associate professor of theater and dance, "to have them be surprised at how much they can accomplish moving while playing." McAdams realized that dream through his work with CME.
Timothy Weiss, associate professor of wind conducting and director of CME, said of the process: "This has been an entirely new experience. Last summer, Carter invited CME to join the Oberlin Dance Company's spring concert by providing live music in the pit. After we began discussing possible repertory, Carter came up with the idea to choreograph musicians moving onstage for one piece on the program. So, on Friday and Saturday night for Steve Reich's Eight Lines, Carter has choreographed 14 musicians moving onstage. I don't think any of us knew what kind of experience we were getting into; we're so used to sitting and playing. Combining movement with playing and ensemble coordination has been challenging in ways that I could not have foreseen. Ultimately, it has been fantastic and we have a very strong collaborative piece for this concert."
Weiss adds, "Another collaboration involves the work of student choreographer Ariel Heitler and student composer Mark Stackmann. They created a piece that begins the program. Mark's music beautifully sets Ariel's images and movements. In part of their piece, lyrical, slow and expressive solos in Ariel's choreography are cast against Mark's free, spacious sound environment that includes bowed piano--three players with 14 bows woven through the strings inside the piano--bird calls, whistle tones, and 'an arsenal of improvised percussion timbres.' These two students have been working together since Winter Term."
McAdams concludes, "I knew Tim was game, but he has really gone all out. I just sit out in the audience and grin watching him ride the tiger."