Music for Butoh / Dance

Creating music for contemporary dance has always been part of my musical life. I love the collaborative nature of the relationship between choreographer and composer, the synergy of sound and gesture, and the way one form of energy translates into, reflects and inspires the other.

Louise Brown, 1907 – 1996

I actually was a dancer myself for a while. I began ballet classes when I was 7 and from age 11-13 I had a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dance in York where I studied with Louise Browne. She was a dancer with the Zeigfeld Follies in the 1920’s who later moved to London where she became a great teacher for the RAD, creating a dance scholarship school in Yorkshire.

I stopped dance classes as music became more and more of an all-consuming passion, although the love of dance stayed with me, translated into my work as a composer. 

Katsura Kan

During the years I lived in Japan, I collaborated extensively with dancers from the world of butoh – a very particular form of Japanese contemporary dance. Butoh works with a very minimalistic and subtle range of movements, and emphasizes the relationship between movement and stillness in much the same way that traditional shakuhachi music highlights the relationship between sound and silence.

Yurabe Masami

In Kyoto and Osaka I worked with Yurabe Masami, Katsura Kan, Nobutaka Kishi,  Atsushi Takenouchi and other butoh performers, creating soundtracks using the shakuhachi with other traditional Japanese instruments and with percussion and electronics.  I wrote the soundtrack for two short butoh films by the award-winning American choreographer and filmmaker Daniele Wilmouth. I also brought butoh dancers to work in schools in England and Scotland, on projects funded by the British Council.

Heidi S. Durning

While in Japan I wrote and performed the music for a number of pieces by the Swiss/Japanese choreographer Heidi Durning, who has evolved a unique form of contemporary dance incorporating elements from traditional Nihon Buyoh with Martha Graham  style.

I also collaborated on several projects with the Art Performance group Phylloxera, I devised music for the Suwa Dance School, and and I took some character parts onstage with productions of the Mitsuko Inao Ballet school.

Stopgap Dance Company

More recently I have collaborated with Adam Benjamin, the founder of Candoco Dance Company, the first UK professional dance company to focus on the integration of disabled and non-disabled dancers. Working with Adam I wrote the soundtracks for Angels of Incidence with Scottish Dance Theatre and Dancer’s Syndrome with Stopgap Dance Company.

 

 

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