Passacaglia [1938]

Main, Lesley ORCID logoORCID: and Humphrey, Doris (2005) Passacaglia [1938]. [Performance]


This research-driven “new interpretation” of Humphrey's work engages in and contributes firstly to the debate about the preservation of modern/contemporary dance and the means by which this is achieved. Secondly, it illustrates that choreo-musical relationships exist on at least two levels: “structural context”, provided by choreography/music, and “dynamic context”, located between choreography and orchestration. Enquiry into “structural context” and “dynamic context”, in Humphrey's work, can provide an interpretation that brings a new perspective on her choreographic tradition. While the first debate has largely remained within the field itself and has focused on the methods of “reconstruction”; “revival”, “retrieval” and “recreation”, this particular research project explored the “re-”, through its engagement at the interface between three imperatives: “research-specific” (ongoing); “creative” (combining a “new interpretation” with Humphrey's aesthetic); and “professional” (professional company/paying audience). This three-stranded approach required that issues specific to new interpretation, professional production values and audience expectation explicitly informed the creative process. Issues in interpretation/style were emphasised, alongside those of the impact that the director's “co-authoring” intervention can have on a work. The research outcome signals the extension of current practice within one modern dance tradition, while identifying strategies for more general application to contemporary dance. In the case of Passacaglia, the primary research enquiry focused on the physical/physiological interpretation of sound, with particular attention to orchestration and dynamics. Research strategies included a historical/contextual overview of Humphrey's creative process and the music-dance relationships generated with both music (Bach) and orchestration (Stokowski). The project sought to determine how trained dancers can embody sound, including the articulation and execution of dynamics, and the sound/space relationship. One example relates to the drama and scale of Stokowski's orchestration, dance's ability ‘get inside' sound and scale, while embodying the dynamic/s that counter the danger of becoming submerged by it.

Venue Details

  1. Passacaglia
    • Location: Turin, Italy
    • Dates: Jul 2005, Dec 2005 - Mar 2006, Oct 2006

  2. Passacaglia
    • Location: Chicago, IL, USA
    • Dates: Aug 2007

Item Type: Performance
Additional Information: Produced at Teatro Piccolo Regio, Turin July 2005 (for Arke Dance Company); December 2005; March 2006, Teatro Alfa, Turin; October 2006, Teatro Regio, Turin; and Doris Humphrey Memorial Theater, Chicago, August 2007 (for Momenta Dance Company).
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
Item ID: 743
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2008 16:06
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2020 21:02

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