A Study of the Choreographer/Composer Collaboration
Working Paper #22, Fall 2002
This paper examines the working relationship of composers and
choreographers in modern dance with attention to basic processes,
barriers, and opportunities that characterize their collaborations.
The paper draws its conclusions from a series of informal interviews
and group discussions with musicians, choreographers, producers,
presenters, and critics held at the 2000 Bates Dance Festival,
as well as from the author’s own experience as a composer.
By outlining a brief history of music in modern dance and dance
education, along with identifying the ways in which projects combining
the two genres are initiated, the author identifies the historical
and institutional contexts for the experiences of his informants.
Basic scenarios for collaboration are defined and the opinions
of participants examined regarding the perceived advantages and
disadvantages of each type. Finally, the author suggests ways
to overcome some of the existing barriers between composer and
choreographer, music and dance, exploring how the structure of
the world of modern dance influences artistic production.
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