You see the music in a new light based on what is going on around you, rather than the interpretation that you might have had playing it on your own.Kevin Knowles, Music Academy Alumnus
This Saturday, April 1, pre-college musicians from the Colburn Music Academy and pre-professional ballet dancers from the Colburn Dance Academy will join forces to present the Counterpointe Concert at Zipper Hall. For many of them, this is the first time they’ve worked with their instrumentalist or dancing peers, and the experience has had surprising challenges and rewards.
Pianist Kevin Knowles started working with his peers in the Dance Academy during his first year at Colburn during the 2014-15, when ballet class pianist Michael Roberts wanted to get the music and dance students working together. He didn’t really know what to expect, he said. “At first it took me by surprise, but I was very humbled to be chosen to take part and do a collaboration project. I thought it would be a great way to expand my own boundaries and experiences.”
Kevin quickly found that working with dancers requires both rhythmic consistency and flexibility. “You see the music in a new light based on what is going on around you, rather than the interpretation that you might have had playing it on your own.”
For second-year Dance Academy student Breanna Newton, collaborating with Music Academy students at Colburn was the first opportunity she had to dance to live accompaniment. The experience gave her new artistic freedom. “Collaborating is a lot different than playing with a recording. We can work with them to adjust tempos for the choreography, or we might adjust to fit their playing.”
Breanna has found inspiration in her Music Academy peers. “They are so talented,” she said. “It’s given me a real appreciation for what they do.” She hopes audiences at the Counterpointe Concert see the care and effort they’ve put into their preparation. “The concert will really show off all of the hard work and collaboration we’ve put into meshing with each other.”
The experience has left a lasting impression on Kevin, who is headed off to college next year. He’s noticed a few of his potential schools have dance programs, and he’d like to continue collaborating.
“Wherever I end up, if they don’t already have a collaborative program between music and dance, I’d like to work toward that. Perhaps I can pioneer a new area to be explored.”