Beethoven is going to get all strung out at Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth’s 10th Annual Modern Dance Festival at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which opens the first of its three weekends on Friday.
But that is not as negative as it sounds. It is actually one of the German composer’s greatest works, his mighty Symphony No. 9 (the “Choral” symphony, with the famous “Ode to Joy”), which will be elongated and used as a music bed for a wide range of dance performances in the second two weekends of the festival.
“It’s very interesting. You hear all the harmonies. Of course, there is no real rhythm or meter because it is so stretched out,” said CD/FW executive and artistic director Kerry Kreiman, explaining a work called 9 Beet Stretch/Music of the Spheres, created by Norwegian composer Lief Inge.
It takes the symphony and expands its usual 75-minute duration into 24 hours. And descriptions of the work emphasize that it is done “without pitch distortion.”
“It almost pulls you into a trancelike state. It’s like a type of meditation,” said Kreiman about the recorded work, which will serve as a sound backdrop for a variety of dance performances by the more than 20 troupes and solo dancers participating in the free event. “Seeing how a lot of different things can come out of a very similar idea is one of the things I think is cool about the project. I think that is very appropriate for our 10th anniversary. ”
9 Beet Stretch, which has been performed at Carnegie Hall, among many other venues and outlets, will be broken up into several long blocks of music and used as the basis of performances that will take place in numerous locations in the museum and on its grounds, Kreiman said.
“I think moving around to various parts of the museum celebrates the architecture and the space of the museum,” she said. “We’ve always tried to find ways to celebrate the building and the art itself. It’s a great space. It creates its own interesting environment to be moving in and be relating to. The music itself, being a very unusual way to hear Beethoven, adds to that interesting experience.”
And not everyone will be dancing with the slowed-down Beethoven. The event will also feature poets and visual artists who will be doing presentations complemented by the featured musical piece, Kreiman said. There will also be a pair of film screenings separate from the dance performances. The dance films Folie à deux and Substance: Molokowill be screened July 27.
And then, of course, there will be the trapeze artist.
“Hilary McDaniel-Douglas is coming back with a trapeze to do a little aerial work during part of the 9 Beet Stretch part,” said Kreiman.
And if that seems a bit odd, realize that another presentation at the festival will involve dancers performing on “small workout trampolines.”
“And [Texas A&M professor] Christine Bergeron will be presenting a two-performer piece called Pinwheels and Roses,” said Kreiman, describing one the pieces offered in the opening weekend’s Choreographer’s Showcase, which will not use the 9 Beet Stretch score. “It incorporates a big circle of fans that are used to both blow pinwheels and, later, to blow rose petals up into the air.”
CD/FW’s annual Modern Dance Festival at the Modern has pleased and surprised audiences enough to be a celebrating its 10th year.
“We see this festival as providing a broader extension of our ‘Dance Delivered’ educational and community outreach programming,” said Kreiman, who founded CD/FW with Susan Douglas Roberts in 1990. “It is for all ages. They can see a variety of dances and artists. And they can have a lot of different kinds of experiences.
“It can give people who don’t have a lot of previous experience with modern dance ways to sample some of the different types of work that are out there. And, hopefully, encourage them to get out and see some more dance.”