Ep. #19: Featuring Choreographer Kitty NcNamee and Stephanie Kim
Silence is defined as the complete absence of sound. But ultimately in the world as we know it, silence is an impossibility. In a state of silence, we might experience a quieting of self, and a heightened awareness of place. We might notice the rhythms of our heart’s beat and of our breath, both of which defy stillness. Our heartbeat and our breath connect to our motions and emotions and strongly influence our movements which become sound.
The great dancer and choreographer, Jerome Robbins, used no musical score in his dance, Moves (1959), in order to direct our focus to the patterns, rhythms, and natural sounds of the movement. Dancer and choreographer, Merce Cunningham practiced choreographing in silence and added music after the fact, as the spirit moved him. His partner and collaborator, the famed composer John Cage, made a piece titled '4’33”' and instructed the performers not to play their instruments for the entire duration of the piece—4 minutes and 33 seconds. Whenever the piece is performed, we find ourselves listening intently to every unintended sound.
MUSE/IQUE invites you to tune in to the musical landscape of our wondrous world and enjoy the human instrument in space, as choreographer Kitty McNamee and dancer Stephanie Kim present SILENCE.
"When Stephanie and I were scouting locations, I was struck by the texture of the ambient sound as we made some video tests. Her breath, feet connecting with the earth, the wind, birdsong, and the occasional barking of a dog created a natural sonic landscape for the piece.
"On our shoot day, a happy/spooky coincidence occurred. As Stephanie reached up at the apex of the choreography, the first unnatural sound (of a jet overhead) appeared. It seems looking at it now that the man-made world - on a particularly global scale - loomed over Stephanie. It seems threatening, foreboding. As the piece resolved and the focus shifted back to nature, so did the sound. That synchronization occurred spontaneously. A coincidence or message?" - Kitty McNamee
"I really enjoyed having the movement conducted by the natural/unnatural sounds around me, in duet with my breath. Something different. Something peaceful and personal. The choreography spoke to me of isolation and inquiry. Ultimately the fear leading me into a still submission of presence. Working with Kitty, the story is always explored. It is the root of what matters and why." - Stephanie Kim