Am I, the new dance work from Shaun Parker and Company premieres at Sydney Festival this January and the team have been hard at work in rehearsals. Director and Choreographer Shaun Parker and Composer Nick Wales took some time out to update us on how it’s going.
The origins of where we come from… as humans, is a deep question that fascinates us.
It’s the notion of ‘what are we, where we come from and where we are going’
For Am I, I am really compelled by the fusion of science, artistic form, music and that observation of who we are as humans.
The beginning of the show starts with a pulse of life, the big bang theory, the creation and expansion of the universe catapulting through time…
I am working with seven extraordinary dancers who use all of today’s current movement forms to tell a story that is visceral, physical and highly articulate – just as complex, in a way, as we are as humans.
We use popping and locking movement, combined with highly physical contemporary dance, fusing all the movement skills of now to tell a story.
There are words used in physics, such as energy and motion, and we use them in a very particular way, but those words mean something different to a dancer.
To see someone take those ideas, which you’ve explained and then transform them into something that’s very human and yet recognizable is a fascinating process to watch.
Is there a music that defines us as humans? Do devotional songs have hidden powers? Is there a musical style that may blend all cultures together? What would the universe sound like?
These are some questions I have been asking myself whilst composing the music for Am I – a work in which I am attempting to blur the musical song lines of old and new, east and west with a live ensemble of 7 exceptional musicians and singers. I have been researching the tonality and melodic patterns of the ancient songs of Armenia. I am attracted to their athereal tonal quality which somehow sits in between western scales and Middle Eastern scales. The percussion and devotional music of India and the tribal rhythms of the Middle East and African musical traditions have also played a part in creating the work as well as “wall of sound” contemporary sonically based art rock music and medieval performance practices. Am I is an investigation of the human condition – I see this as an “eternal pulse” that will thread its way through the whole sound score.
I hope audience members will walk away from the performance wondering “was that music from the future or the past?”…”was that a bass clarinet or a didgeridoo” “was I in a trance?”
Sydney Opera House
9 – 12 January
Tickets on sale now