Celebrating 40,000+ years

Celebrating 40,000+ years of Australian culture—our Indigenous culture where music and dance are fundamental to living.

Daily Prompt: Musical

In a daily prompt for bloggers, the question has been asked:

What role does music play in your life?

When I hear music I either want to sing, or I want to dance. Mostly dance.

So much has been written about the partnership between music and dance. Two obvious things come to mind. One is that dance is most often accompanied by music. Another is that many aspects of dance elements, devices and form can be described using musical terms.

In choreography, what comes first? The music or the dance? Can they be separate entities in the work? Can they merely co-exist? Do they enhance each other’s meaning? Can they retain meaning if they are isolated, one from the other?

Research into audience appreciation of dance demonstrates the critical importance of music in meaning-making. Personal preferences for particular genres of music may also influence the way we view dance.

The clip below is iconic Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. The dance choreography mirrors, follows and leads the musical rhythm. The dancers’ bodies and breath punctuate and intersect with the sound. Perhaps this is a prime example of an organic whole of music and dance, inextricably linked. It is no surprise to find out that the music by Thierry De Mey and Peter Vermeersch was created simultaneously and in interaction with the choreography.

For the student of choreography it is essential to consider the meaning and influence that music has in a work.