Passacaglia [1938]

Main, Lesley ORCID logoORCID: and Humphrey, Doris (2007) Passacaglia [1938]. [Performance]

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There is an on-going debate in the dance field about the preservation of modern/contemporary dance works and the means by which this is achieved. The debate has largely remained within the field itself and has focused on the 're-' methods, 'reconstruction'; 'revival’; 'retrieval'; 'recreation'. I have been investigating this aspect from a wider perspective, exploring the interface between the 'research imperative', the 'creative imperative' and the 'professional imperative' through specific aspects - interpretation and style; the consequential impact that directorial intervention can have on a work and the role of director as co-author. The purpose of my research is to extend current production practice within one modern dance tradition, Doris Humphrey, and in so doing create strategies that can be applied across the contemporary dance genre. Both my practice and text-based research activity has interrogated and applied ideas and methodologies from a range of fields including theatre, history, music, philosophy and literary criticism.

In specific relation to Passacaglia, the primary research question was an enquiry into the physical/physiological interpretation of sound, with particular attention to orchestration and dynamics. Research processes and strategies undertaken included a historical/contextual overview of Humphrey’s creative process in 1938 and the music-dance relationships generated with both music (Bach) and orchestration (Stokowski). Detailed research was undertaken to determine the means by which dancers can embody sound, including the articulation and execution of dynamics, and to the relationship between sound and space. One example relates to the drama and scale of Stokowski’s sound, and the significance of the dancing being able to match this, with the idea of ‘getting inside’ the sound, and embodying its dynamic/s employed to counter the danger of becoming submerged by it. Evidence illustrates that, in broad terms, choreo-musical relationships can exist on two levels, in a structural context between choreography and music, and in a dynamic context between choreography and orchestration. The juxtaposition of these two contexts has created an interpretation that gives a fresh perspective to Humphrey's choreography.

Venue Details

  1. Momenta Dance Company
    • Location: Chicago, IL., USA
    • Dates: Oct - Nov 2007

Item Type: Performance
Additional Information: Performed by Momenta Dance Company, Chicago, USA, October/November 2007. This season marked the first time Doris Humphrey's signature work was performed in her home town.
Keywords (uncontrolled): Doris Humphrey; Passacaglia; interpretation; style; performance
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
Item ID: 6571
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Lesley Main
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2012 14:02
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2020 21:02

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