Rebecca Lazier with Dan Trueman: There Might Be Others

I had the privilege of witnessing a one-of-a-kind dance/music performance Thursday evening at New York Live Arts. Literally. What I saw that evening will never happen again in exactly the same way. Intrigued? Choreographer Rebecca Lazier, along with composer Dan Trueman, created a dance/music piece entitled There Might Be Others. It was inspired by Terry Riley’s 1964 classic experimental music piece, In C, for an indeterminate number of musicians. Möbius Percussion and Sō Percussion (love them!) collaborated to make the choices that created the music, while 14 dancers from all over the world made the choices that created the dance that evening. The intensity with which musicians and dancers had to watch and listen to each other was crucial. The basic premise was that the dancers had 40 modules of choreography to choose from, and the musicians had 40 modules of music to choose from. Unlike In C, which is a serial piece at its core, the order of the music/dance modules in this piece — indeed, whether or not all the modules were even used — was left open to chance. The rest was choice, cooperation, intuition, and — from where I sat — magic. The flocking behavior of birds or the hive behavior of bees came to mind. Naomi Leonard, professor of aerospace engineering at Princeton University, collaborated on this project as well. Her specialty is group decision-making and collective motion. The post-performance Q&A with Lazier, Trueman, Leonard and many of the dancers and musicians was fascinating as they talked about leadership, following, choice, rules created, rules destroyed, emergent forms and the experience of improvisation and group dynamics. Fans (like me) of John Cage and Merce Cunningham’s work with chance and indeterminacy would have been thrilled. The talent involved at every level of this work was impressive. I was enthralled. I wish I could have seen every single performance, so I could see how different choices created completely different works each evening.

 

 

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