Author: Joe

Dance and the Physicality of Music

Dance and the Physicality of Music

In Cassils’ first ever dance piece, trans bodies made movement — and a striking canvas — for their minds. But more than that, they gave their bodies to art as a vehicle. With their body-powered creations, the artists of Mijerland began to make use of the way they’re designed for physical performance. They didn’t make these works to be viewed in an abstract, abstract way, as mere sculpture. Instead, Cassils and others began to consider the physical acts of dancing or performing to be a means of displaying their mental-emotional experiences. At the same time, they began to give the body its due; the performance of Cassils’ dances in 2004 showed that dancers have the ability to use the act of dancing to share a physical and mental experience.

The physicality of dancing as a mode of expression also created an opportunity for musicians to extend the physicality of their art. In the 1960s, jazz greats such as saxophonists Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane used dancing as a tool for communication with audiences. Coltrane is usually considered a “pianist and drummer,” but with his long-playing piano, he was able to create an entirely different sound. Coleman and other jazz men, on the other hand, were not limited to playing only the notes on the piano and the drums; they could use their bodies as instruments as well. In 1964, Coleman performed on his own body at New York’s Mudd Club. In the performance, Coleman performed a series of hip-dancing moves that could be used in a jazz trio or with a rock group’s rhythm section. Coleman’s performance was so successful that he continued to use such movement as a way to communicate within his own group, Coltrane’s group, and by using his body as a tool to help others. “Music,” Coleman’s bandmate, William Parker, said at the time, “… is a language that’s being used by people to communicate the music inside their heads to the world.” Cassils’ and Parker’s dancing created a language for the audience to discover and understand.

At the same time, when it comes to music performance, it has been suggested that a musician begins to think and feel about the physical act of performing. When pianist Chick Corea began performing, he used improvisation based on an understanding of performance through dance. For Cassils

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