EXPLOSION OF DANCE: Run to Martha Graham Graham Studio Theater in the Village before Sunday to see Eryc Taylor Dance Company weave a masterful tapestry of dance that is as enthralling as it is explosive. I was transported to the heavens and back by "Cycles" a 16-minute meditation on the mysteries of the universe--from the vastness of outer space to the wonders of the earth's sea.In the achingly beautiful movements of the dancers you'll feel weightless and powerless one moment and invincible and super-heroic the next. It's a tug-of-war in movement--always pulling and surrendering before seizing the final moment of triumph. I felt like I was punched in the gut. The piece was commissioned by Douglas Sills of the Douglas Sills Foundation. I was also moved by dancer Nicole Baker in "The Missing." In the wake of the allegations regarding Harvey Weinstein, I was reminded of how women must navigate in a male-dominated society--not as victims but as masters of their own fate. In her powerful dancing Ms. Baker appears to struggle with abuse being thrown against the floor of the Martha Graham stage with a force that startles us. Is it an invisible male tormentor who is forcefully flinging her to the ground? But in the end she rises above the dark forces that dominate her. She finds her light. I thought sexual identity was also at play in the powerful "The Box." Four dancers, two males and two females grapple for control. Mesmerizing. And for me the sorbet of the evening was "Chaise Lung"--a 1992 piece about sexual tension as played out in a very funny Tango. It was like Buster Keaton trying to convince Gracie Allen to take a whirl with him. And you won't be able to get Taylor Ennen's poufy crimson silk chiffon dress (with tulle petticoat peeking from underneath) out of your mind. It swings with a mind of its own.
With our 2017 NYC Season coming up, I thought it would be a great idea to interview some of our INCREDIBLY talented collaborators. I wanted to get to know them more and share their stories with all of you.
First up is Swarm Intelligence, the musician who I commissioned to create the score for our newest work, Cycles. Cycles will have it's world premiere at the Martha Graham Studio Theater on October 13-15 - you do not want to miss this other worldly collaboration between ETD and Swarm Intelligence!
When did you begin composing? What are you currently working on?
To be entirely honest, I can’t even remember when all this began for me. My first Swarm Intelligence release was in 2006, but I started well before then.
When did you first collaborate with Eryc Taylor Dance? What was the project?
Well, this is in fact our first collaboration. The piece is entitled “The Cycle”.
How has your experiences been working with a contemporary dance company?
This is a first for me! I can’t say I’ve experienced anything like it. It’s curious to listen back to my first draft and see how far the piece has progressed through our collaboration. Eryc had a particular vision and encouraged me to go further and further into a deep and abstract sound.
I am very excited to see the choreographed interpretation of the composition. Working via email and FaceTime has been somehow challenging, I had to compose imagining how it might fit their vision but never really knowing. I feel it somehow we made it work, which speaks volumes about the dance company more so than about me!
What are some other stand out dance, theater, music, or film companies have you worked with?
Not to date. I have been very much focussed on my own releases and performances. The collaboration has been an eye opener and I would love to see what else could lie along this path.
What would be the ultimate project to compose?
I could imagine playing a more interactive role wth the dancers and audience would be really interesting – a live surround sound performance, with sounds being generated by the dancers’ movements.
That said, I have a huge amount on my plate at the moment. I have been writing an album for the last two years that is finally coming to a settled point where I might be able to call it “done”. I have many other releases due out and a pretty regular performance schedule – all this alongside a day job!
Describe your style of music and the artists that have impacted the most.
These are two questions that I always struggle to answer. I feel my music is constantly evolving and subconsciously inspired by all of the new artists that cycle through my record collection. I guess I’d prefer to let the listener describe my sound, anything less would be a bit conceited on my part.
As for the artists I admire – I’d suggest people come to see me DJ to find this out!
What public figure has had the biggest influence on you and why?
There are several political figures around the world nowadays that seem to seek to do nothing more than divide and instil fear for their own gain. This has a huge influence on my life and there’s no doubt that I take these feelings into my music also.
I believe in equality, kindness and love – it seems like anything else is against the natural order of humanity. It’s frustrating to see us regress to the past, but I have hope it’s a temporary lapse and that we’ll all come to our senses!
Do you have a quote or mantra that you live by?
I believe in writing music that I enjoy, not music that people expect of me.
What's been the largest obstacle/struggle in your life to becoming a freelance artist? How did you overcome it? If you didn't become a musician, what job do you think would be working right now?
I didn’t! I was afraid that depending on music as my sole source of income would force me to make artistic compromises that I wasn’t prepared to make. I have a job working for a company called Ableton that builds software for musicians. It brings together my engineering qualifications and my love of music so I guess I landed on my feet there.
Back in March, I attended ON TOP! Party hosted by Susanne Bartsch, and was lucky to meet a young man dawning a 3D rope sculpture dress that he created. He is a young up and coming NYC-based artist, attending New York University. I am now collaborating with Ether to create geometrical structures that outline the dancer's bodies, essentially an exoskeleton.
In efforts to learn a little more about my new collaborator, I interviewed Ether about his inspirations for the original design as well about his life as a young emerging artist. Check out the interview below!
Cycles is made possible by a generous grant from the Sills Foundation.
ERYC TAYLOR: MUSIC FOR CONTEMPORARY
OCTOBER 1, 2017 | BETSY FARBER
The founder and artistic director of Eryc Taylor Dance not only choreographs for and directs the company he started 11 years ago, he also works with composer to create original music. "I try not to use prerecorded music anymore," says Taylor. "All the music is from the original composers." From classical to electronic, he's collaborated with composer Gerald Busby, who created music for Paul Taylor's Runes (1975), and with London-based electronic DJ Swarm Intelligence on a new piece, Cycles.
Here is some "Behind the Steps" information on...
THE BOX (2015)
In 2015, Jesus Olivera and I collaborated to create "The Box.” It was originally performed as a trio of three women and focused on the inequality of female sexuality in society. The piece follows the three women navigating their sexuality in a hyper-public space. The re-staged piece will now feature two men alongside the females: Nicole Baker, Alex Tenreiro Theis, AJ Guevara and Chris Bell. We are adjusting the original choreography to portray a more extensive definition of sexuality in the world - a true spectrum instead of binary choice.
“The Box” will premiere during our 2017 NYC season on October 13, 14, & 15 at the Martha Graham Studio Theater and will feature an original composition by Salomon Lerner. For Tickets please visit ETD.nyc/tickets