Pam Tanowitz, American dancer and choreographer, put movement to music in a big way when she wrote a dance accompaniment for Bach. The Goldberg Variations were originally scored for the Harpsichord and consisted of thirty variations and an aria, which is a composed solitary melody. First heard in 1741, many artists have performed and worked on the piece. However the work of Tanowitz made a real scene among the dance and performance loving community. Last year, when she produced the show, herself and her pianist, one Simone Dinnerstein, exhibited the gruelling evening long rendition with all the best actions.
The show hasn't stopped there for Pam, taking the theme of modernising the classic through a new medium and set of creative rules, Tanowitz has turned her dancing shoes to Eliot. The classic poet from the twentieth century is widely read across the world. Writing from his American roots has allowed the mind of the poet to express his culture to a global audience of millions. Honouring this work with choreography adds a new chapter on the book of his greatest works.
Working with Gideon Lester, Bard College director of theatre and dance, Pam Tanowitz has devised a compelling performance of movement and synchronous flow to grace the words of one of America's great heroes. Narrated by Kathleen Chalfant, The Four Quartets have been set to music by Kaija Saariaho, a Finnish composer, and performed by New York orchestra The Knights,.It all involves elaborate costumes, lighting effects, and exquisite dancing.
Burnt Norton, East Coker, The Dry Salvages and Little Gidding make up the four pieces of poetry in the Quartets and each one represents a specific place with its own personality. The poetry and performances reflect this in the manner they're written and in the images used to assist with their message. "The core is spiritual: It has rhythm, it's development, it's form, it's traditional, and there's freedom in the tradition," Pam Tanowitz (Straits Times).
Pam is pushing herself even further than before with this production. Not only is she in uncharted ground by writing a dance movement for a lengthy poetic work, she is also dancing in the show herself. Rare for Pam as with most choreographers, being integral to the performance in the physical sense ensures that history is made. Reimagined, The Four Quartets become as memorable as many other homages to the greats.
What would you set to dance? Comment with some ideas!
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