'Dance' Video Group 2 (V2)

(General Introduction on the page 'From Gesture to Sound')


The shared space of dance form and musical form in baroque dance music is the point of departure for this study. There are several recent studies and projects exploring how dance structures and dancing may inform musical performance (Dalen, 2013, Wittstruck & Costanza, 2012). While my thesis draws on this knowledge, as well as on musicological research concerned with the structural and historical aspects of baroque dance (Mather, 1987, Little & Jenne, 1991), and the relation between dance and music in general (Damsholt, 1999), I explore a dimension that occurs in these studies only perfunctorily: the role of the musician’s body.

Musicological studies tend to delineate the shared space of dance and music by reading the musical score through the lens of a theoretical application of dance to musical structure. Performance-based research expands the space by employing the agencies of performer and dancer. The musical score is in both cases analysed from all kinds of theoretical, historical, and practical perspectives. But, since the final aim of such study is typically the interpretation of a particular musical score, the body of the musician is often reduced to an 'informed sound-maker' whose embodied knowledge rarely informs the analysis.

In my study I establish the violinist’s body as a key methodological tool in the exploration of the shared space of music and dance. In this respect, the musical understanding of the specific dances is not the end goal, but rather a springboard towards embodying the kinaesthetic aspects of dance in musical interpretation and performance.

Video group 2, 'Dance', explores how dance movements can be assimilated into the body movements of a violinist. In my case study Rebel - Les Caractères de la danse, I read the musical notation of dances with my body. In the score, the dance structure is manifested in rhythmical patterns. Rather than realizing the dance structure through sonic tools, i.e. articulation, accentuation and dynamics, I attempt to translate the dance structure directly into body movements and draw a musical interpretation of the dance from its movement characteristics.

My study was conducted in several stages. As with the Don Quichotte study (V1), I started out in my studio with experimental readings of the score from an embodied perspective, which drew very little on specific knowledge of the dance in question. As most HIP players, I learnt the dance characters intuitively through the performance practice I had inherited from my teachers and colleagues.

In the projects with the Malmö Academy String Orchestra and Aros Baroque ensemble, I applied my assumed dance vocabulary in a series of rehearsals and concerts, that were captured on video and subject to video analysis.

The dance workshops with Deda Cristina Colonna finally allowed me to enter fully the shared space of dance and music. Here, I got the opportunity to confront my intuitive assumptions with a professional baroque dancer. My goal was to create a more in-depth understanding of the actual dance. The culmination of the workshops was an opera production with Deda Cristina as a stage director.




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