Associate Professor in Composition Matthew Shlomowitz reports on a recent trip to Paris.
Last week I attended a dance performance at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris that featured my work, alongside music by Tom Zé and Ben Harper. The show was titled La Fête (de l’insignifiance) and performed by the Paulo Ribeiro Dance Company, based in Portugal. The three Paris dates followed performances in Lisbon, Viseu, Coimbra and Flor in Portugal, and Besançon in France. Three of my pieces were superbly performed live by percussionist Miquel Bernat and guitarist Miquel Moreira: Hi Hat and Me for solo percussionist; Logic Rock for electric guitar and drum kit; and More Logic Rock for MIDI guitar and drum kit. The musicians performed on stage and at times were integrated into the choreography.
The theme for the work was a hedonistic party setting and the expressive aim to offer an “an explosive shout of joy and freedom”. The dance had a spontaneous energy and a light and playful quality. There were also two audience participation moments, where dancers spoke directly to the audience, inviting them to move. The dancers told me afterwards that they were worried the Parisian public might be standoffish and that these moments would fall flat, but it all worked out fine as these were joyful moments, with most audience members willingly going along for the ride. It was intriguing to see my work choreographed. There was rarely any one-to-one correspondence in the timing relationships between Paulo Ribeiro’s choreography and my music, but rather it seemed to me his approach was more layered, with the music and dance independently following their own trajectories, albeit with a shared spirit.