Dancer Thomas Bradley writes about Project Rameau:
“We’re about half way”, Rafael Bonachela (SDC Artistic Director and choreographer of Project Rameau) said to us last week after a short run-through of the dance we have created so far: a fast and furious spectacle set to some of Rameau’s most exciting scores.
When we were first given the music that would be used for the project, I found it hard to imagine what kind of movement we would end up with. While Raf certainly has his own style and dynamic, Rameau’s music has its own style. It seemed to me that these sat at opposite ends of the table and I wondered how Raf would approach the creative process.
Raf was clever in his tasking. The dancers were asked to pick a single piece, listen to it, and consider what it may look like as a design on paper. Once we had drawn up our own visual interpretations, we swapped them around and began creating individual movement phrases.
To match the complexity and layering of Rameau’s music, in pairs, we created an arm and a leg phrase. These were then combined into a single phrase, which have since become duets and trios. It’s variation upon variation, which is much like the compositional process of some classical music; you begin with a chord, or short, simple phrase and explore it.
For some of the Rameau works, it’s literally as if there is a movement, whether a twitch or a battement (leg extension), for every musical note. It’s very exciting to watch from the outside; your eyes and ears are being fed the same information. From the inside, it’s immensely satisfying when you hit the peak of a crescendo or come to rest after a fast-paced section of music and enjoy the following slow contrast.
It’s been an exciting first half of rehearsal for us dancers and while Rameau’s scores sound great through the speakers, we can’t wait to join forces with the ACO!