For Mount Tremper Arts I wanted to make a stripped-down, put-up-almost-anywhere version of “X.” For the 2010 premiere at St. Mark’s Church artist Martin Kersels built a kinetic chandelier. 12 feet in diameter, it was scaled to fill the sanctuary and to mark the center of what was essentially a circle dance. Kersels also contributed a live sound score that subtly worked to make it seem like the force of the dancer’s movements were making the chandelier tinkle, and in the more energetic sections as though they might bring down the church. I was grateful for his contributions. They added a magic layer to the experience at St. Mark’s but I want the dance to travel and there are not too many venues that can accommodate the chandelier.
Also, I really wanted to see this other version of the dance-I had already seen it in rehearsals. I knew that the dance did not need a set or supplementary sound. The dancers generate their own noisy sound score-heavy feet falls and breathing. For quite a while, I’ve wanted to make dances that are completely self-contained-not organized and emotionally colored by sound, but that generate their own energy and musicality. I’ve been working my way towards this austere condition. In 2010, in the final rehearsals for “X” I could see that I had done it, that I had made that dance.
In 2011, for Mount Tremper, I only had to rework the ending. Originally in this section the exhausted dancers lie on the floor and watch as the chandelier’s lights move slowly down towards them-the only lights in an otherwise completely dark theater-before they pick up the cables and the sockets and scream into the lightbulbs/microphones. I prefer the new alternate ending, it’s less expected, not as pretty. The dancers still scream at the end, but they never give in; they mosh-polka through to the black-out.