You know the feeling when you enter a space where high-level work is going on that is not in your field. Perhaps it's a lab. A workshop. A board room. A church kitchen. There's a feeling of simultaneous familiarity and curiosity. You can tell how it is used, how often, how lovingly, but not to what end. I never tire of that feeling (and I see it in the eyes of little kids when I let them make sounds on my instrument!) Yesterday morning, the members of A Far Cry went to go visit Urbanity Dance in their beautiful new studio for our first joint rehearsal. Stepping into the warm mirrored space, with bodies draped all over the floor casually stretching in impossible, eye-popping ways, that indescribable feeling was there in force, unmistakable.
Musicians and dancers - it's such a complex relationship. So similar and yet worlds apart. When I play with the Boston Ballet orchestra, I'm intimately aware that my music is fueling other people's superb artistry, but from the pit, I can't see anything; I have to trust that what I'm doing is somehow getting through.
This morning's work was going to be one thousand percent different from that experience. Our collaboration is based on Terry Riley's "In C" - a work that allows musicians to improvise their way through the pieces using different musical materials in an ever-shifting swarm or cloud of sound. We had our instruments, and the dancers had their bodies… and before long, they had our bodies too. The Urbanity dancers devised a series of choreographed games to play with us, moving us from one part of the stage to the other, lifting us, racing with us in slow motion, even playing a game of live-action CHESS.
We were lovingly kicked out of our comfort zone again and again. In this space designed for a kind of work that we as musicians can only guess at, for one morning, we were invited in to play (and be played.)
Tomorrow night, you'll be part of the action. Whether you're at the concert or tuning in on the livestream, we welcome you, in turn, into our combined space.
- Sarah Darling, violist