Tango Artist (Video)


“Tango Artist” evolved from Astor Piazzolla’s “Bordel 1900” from Histoire du Tango, a regular part of the Fourth Wall’s performance repertoire.  Both the members of The Fourth Wall (Hilary Abigana, Greg Jukes, and Neil Parsons) and In the Mix had expressed an interest in seeing what might happen if the music from an existing piece were subjected to entirely new interpretations.  Also, we wanted to explore ways of keeping music from becoming a “soundtrack.”  How could we establish music as part of the storytelling, a device no less important than text or movement?

After listening to “Tango” and viewing the Fourth Wall’s original choreography, we began “exploding” their work by breaking into pairs that matched a musician with a non-musician.  In each case, the non-musician attempted to physicalize the music while simultaneously improvising a new story or scenario.  The structures present in the existing music were supposed to provide the framework and beats within the new work, but keeping firm hold of this goal proved to be difficult.  (Perhaps this is a hazard of this mode of developing work?  If nothing else, holding tighter to a given musical structure remains a good goal for “next time.”)

We developed three “starter pieces” in this way, one of which we quickly abandoned (not all devised work “works”).  The other two became, respectively, “Speed Dating” and “Tango Artist.”  As we continued to refine the work, we added more troupe members so that each vignette grew from a duet to an ensemble piece.  With “Tango Artist,” we Mixers took turns portraying an artist who shapes and sets in motion the movements of the rest of the troupe.  Our process, seen at various stages of development, can be viewed in the accompanying video, below.

Posted by on June 26th, 2013

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