Collaborating in a purely musical and dance environment proved to be somewhat difficult, yet the piece we created turned out to be a work that reflected both of our ideas about our specific topic.
We wanted to create a piece that reflects trees. I was sitting in my kitchen, watching the trees blowing in a strong wind, and I thought this could be recreated in an artistic way through dance and music. Young Sun was also able to see a way that she could interpret the movement of trees in a physical way.
We decided to work on our specific part of the project individually and come together after we had initial ideas. A problem occurred when we realized that we both thought of trees in a different way. I had a more violent image of the trees, whereas Young Sun seemed to have a wider view of how trees move—slowly, quickly, violently, calmly, etc. We worked out different tempi, movements, repetition of ideas in the music and dance, and finally came to an agreement of how to portray the trees.
It's interesting to note that working alone and then coming together with our separate ideas is something that I find most appealing, rather than composing and choreographing together. I have worked with lyricists in this manner—writing all of the lyrics and music at the same time—and I feel that we achieved much better results than if we had worked together on the first elements of the project. However, it was nice to work in the same location. While I believe that no place necessarily gets “creative juices” flowing in and of itself—for example, the Music Building is no more conducive to composing than say Espresso Royale—we both seemed to feed off each other while working in the same environment.
I completely disagree with the assertion that “many an immaculate musician would urge the total abolition of dance, for it only pollutes the dream. Or at best reserve it for entertainment”, a statement made in the article on collaboration. Perhaps this idea is perceived because in a dance performance, the audience is often focused on the physical performance rather than the music. Thus, musicians might feel slighted in that they are not given as much recognition as the dancers. However, musicians do not wish for the abolition of opera, musical theatre, and other such media where the physical instrumentalists play a perceived “secondary” role. I feel that this statement does not accurately reflect the desire of musicians. True artists—and this includes dancers, musicians, composers, visual artists, actors,and others—appreciate all art. They might not like it, and they might not attend another performance, but they should consider it.
All in all, collaborating on this project was truly rewarding. We shared and idea and created a joint work, one that I think reflects both of our intentions with this project.