by Maggie Stapleton
Image by Nate Waters.
Spectrum Dance Theatre and Simple Measures are two envelope-pushing arts organizations in Seattle – Spectrum strives to “bring dance of the highest merit to a diverse audience composed of people from different social, cultural, ethnic and economic backgrounds,” with a principal objective “to make the art form of dance accessible through contemporary dance performances and high-quality training in a variety of dance styles,” while Simple Measures aims to bring chamber music into unusual venues, 98% hoity-toity free, and encouraging people to “Come, and Have Fun. That’s what we’re about. You can even clap between movements if you feel like it. Tap your foot. Bob your head. Heck, even dance in the aisles! We. Don’t. Care.”
May 15-17 and May 22-42, you can catch these two organizations in tandem for Rambunctious: A Festival of American Composers and Dance. Some of the performers previewed the show on KING-TV’s New Day Northwest.
The word choice of “Rambunctious” is a particular effort to reach a broader audience, with implications of energy, youthfulness, and exuberance. With live music by all 20th century American composers and world premiere choreography by Donald Byrd, you can be sure the shows will live up to that!
Thanks to a designated fund for live music, Spectrum turns the stereo off and brings live musicians in for a couple of shows per year. When asked why this is valuable, Donald Byrd says they’re attempting to bring new audiences to dance by reaching the classical music crowd. Additionally, the intimacy of chamber music (vs. full orchestral forces) adds an appropriate element to the world of dance, keying in on solo instrumentalists and small groups. Donald finds it rewarding to be in Seattle where there are so many top notch quality chamber musicians and utilizing them ensures the “best of the best” in presentation. It’s also a challenging stretch for the dancers, causing them to think and react much differently and on a deeper level – and most so with music that is NOT straightforward (Wuorinen’s String Quartet No.2, for example!)
The two weekends actually have different programs, offering TWO exciting shows at two great venues. The composers are presented chronologically, but each show opens with the Ives Scherzo serves as a fanfare opening for both concert cycles.
May 15-17 at Fremont Abbey
- Charles Ives: Scherzo
- Aaron Copland: Two Pieces for String Quartet
- George Gershwin: Lullaby for String Quartet
- Vincent Persichetti: String Quartet #2
May 22-24 at Washington Hall
- Charles Ives: Scherzo
- Don Krishnaswami: Trumpet Quintet (world premiere by Rajan’s brother!)
- J. Zorn: Kol Nidrei for string quartet
- C. Wuorinen: String Quartet #2
Michael Jinsoo Lim, violin
Liza Zurlinden, violin
Laura Renz, viola
Rajan Krishnaswami, cello
Brian Chin, trumpet
With combined forces, from these two organizations, the potential innovation and fusion between live chamber music and dance has boundless limitations. Don’t miss these shows!