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'0>' I 2 DUNN ON DANCING John Howell talks with Douglas Dunn Echo (1980) Was there anything different for you in Echo? Coming off Suite to Suite, the piece I had just made in France, I retained an interest in getting a view of the piece from the outside. Which is probably why I was so separate within the piece. I wanted to see all the sections as much as I could so I didn't put myself into it. This time I was certainly (and consciously) as interested in the shape of all the people moving around as I was in what each person was doing within it. Sometimes I get more interested in individual movement-it fluctuates. Obviously, they both have to be there, but I put more conscious effort into one or the other at different times. In France I definitely looked at the time-consuming element there was showing the movement and getting the French dancers to understand it, to do it. By simplifying the movement, I had more time to look at the shape. I also saw that emphasis on shale as a response to the peculiar space of the Kitchen. Most dance concerts there are forced to build in a particular staging. It does ask you to pay attention because there's no interior space there big enough to just do what you want. But you can make something pretty wild too. Don't you think the music had a lot to do with the calmness that characterized Echo?' I had a strong sense of the music because we (John Driscoll and I) had done a little Echo, a solo, for the Museum of Modern Art using those amplified saws. It was a very meditative sound, and as accompaniment to simpler movement and more orderly patterns, it set up a pastoral feeling. I think music always gives a lot of mood cues. Did you work with the music when you worked on the piece? Not at all. Have you ever developed a dance along with music? I'm just starting to for the first time. I didn't think I would ever want to, but if you're making something to a historical piece of music, like I'm supposed to be doing, you have to take some account of it. 3 ~'; ~. Echo, MOMA (1979) A classical piece? Yeah, "Pulcinella" by Stravinsky. I've started listening to it very carefully about how much I listen to it, not too much and not too little. I'm making up my mind slowly as I go along about how much I want to let the music influence me. This morning I listened to a little of the music, then I focused in on one section which interested me and listened to it twice. Then I put it away. I don't know what I retained from it, mainly the rhythm and tempo I guess, something of the melody. I could hum a little bit of it afterwards . Then I started to make something which I thought of as possibly going with that music, and also as possibly going with that music along with other things that might be going on at the same time that wouldn't be as related to the music. So I made a phrase I didn't time the music because my stopwatch is broken and I didn't count the measures because I didn't have time before the dancers got here. So I made a fairly long phrase, maybe two minutes, and put it on videotape and we all learned it. Then I had the dancers give me numbers to randomize the sequence of the various events in this phrase to break it up. There were other numbers involved which I used in making up the score just to keep it loose. So we .ended up with seventy-seven measures of triple rhythn with very unpredictable repetitions. So you're wary of music as a mood-setter? To me, that's a difficulty, a problem. It's not a gift, it's not - oh great -here's this music I get to choreograph to. What did "Pulcinella" sound like to...


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