New Music by Cristina Spinei for New Dance by Chanel daSilva
Parsons Dance, a New York City dance company celebrating 35 years, will commission new music by Cristina Spinei for a new dance choreographed by Chanel DaSilva to be performed live for ten performances in May 2020 reaching 6,000 people.
Commissioned choreographer Chanel DaSilva writes: It is largely important to both me and composer and collaborator Cristina Spinei that art be a reflection of the lives we are living. With the creation and performance of “BORDERS,” (working title) our hope is to uncover, highlight, and challenge the existence of boundaries of many kinds. Be they geographical, psychological, natural, or intangible, borders govern our everyday lives. So, we began to ask ourselves, what might life be like if borders did not exist? Would that open us up as humans to more possibilities? Or might it cause uncontrollable chaos? Would a world without limits lead to more empathy and understanding? Or could it rob us entirely of our sense of identity? Particularly as we attempt to grapple with the social climate of today, the concept of borders has brought up these and many other thematic questions for us. Diving into it and cracking these questions open through this work is a challenging artistic adventure for the both of us.
We have both meditated on the idea of borders and how they have informed our respective industries, dance and music, both mediums that reflect the human experience. At the intersection of dance and music, we have the unique ability to create worlds where anything is possible. Where the lines of what is “right” and what is “wrong” can be so beautifully blurred. My vision for “BORDERS” is to show juxtaposing worlds: one in which boundaries and identities are very clearly defined, each dancer standing firmly in their place and never stepping outside of their comfort zone; and another in which boundaries and identities do not exist, where we are all void of hierarchy, limits, and differences.
Cristina plans to further challenge the theme of “limits” through bold instrumentation, combining marimba, bass guitar, and cello. These three instruments are not often paired together in contemporary concert music. However, Cristina’s work pushes the boundaries of what we know and charts new territory in this way. Her more recent compositions have successfully combined bass guitar with strings in a way that blurs genre. By using such a non-traditional pairing of instruments in a traditional chamber music setting, she achieves timbres that sound fresh. In “BORDERS,” the use of bass guitar alongside a “chopping” technique in the cello will provide a rhythmic undercurrent.
Because there are no “right” or “wrong” answers to the questions that Cristina and I are asking, our only hope for our audiences is that after experiencing this new work, they will walk away asking themselves their own questions about borders, and how those borders may or may not influence their everyday lives. If that begins to cultivate curiosity, empathy, and self-reflection, then the presentation of “BORDERS” will have done its job.
SECTION TO WATCH: 8:05-11:27. From daSilva: I created this piece in memoriam of my mother, whose death taught me that the path to healing is a process, with no clear destination. This piece was performed by the 2016 graduating class of LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. I collaborated with tap dancer Michela Lerman and jazz drummer/musician Ulysses Owens, Jr to create the score for this piece. The sounds that you will hear throughout the piece are live recordings of Michela tap dancing mixed with live percussion.
SECTIONS TO WATCH: 7:10 – 10:35; 11:45 – 15:45. From daSilva: I created this piece after having traveled to Africa for the first time and being incredibly inspired by my experiences there. I spent 2 weeks in Dakar, Senegal and did my best to fully immerse my self in the rich and deep culture of Senegal. While I was in Dakar, my ears and eyes were always open, constantly documenting the sounds and pictures that resonated with me. In Part one of the clips selections, the dancers perform to a recording I took while riding in a taxi in Dakar.
LISTEN FROM 00:35. From Spinei: This work is a duo for marimba and cello that was inspired by the intricate choreography of navigating New York’s Grand Central Terminal during rush hour. The famous clock in the middle of Grand Central has been a popular meeting place for people commuting into New York for decades. I wanted to juxtapose that sense of fixed observation and swirling movement. Throughout the piece, I alternate between using 3/4 and 6/8 time signatures. The marimba maintains a steady, driving beat under the cello’s lyrical lines.
Start and End Dates
05/18/2021 — 05/31/2021
New York, New York