Daily Archives: April 6, 2011 10:18 pm

Dancing to words

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Interesting blog by Eleanor Turney in the Guardian about dancing to words, and what makes it work or not work. It’s a topic that interests me a lot, ever since, about ten years ago, I saw a pas de deux in Christopher Hampson’s Canciones done to a reading of the poem instead of the sung version, due to a ghastly cock-up over rights.

It has stayed with me as one of the most beautiful, haunting, and musical moments of dance, one of my favourites, even. You have to understand that it’s all I can do to stay awake in a pas de deux. Too much blurred sentimental wrestling. But in this instance, the rise and fall of Rosario Serrano’s voice seemed to be more musically communicative and articulate than any music could have been.

Perhaps the reason it worked is precisely because the movement had originally been choreographed to de Falla’s music rather than the words, so what emerged from the conjunction of the music and text was the musicality of the poetry, not what it meant.