image3When music hits us, it affects virtually every part of our brain-- stimulating the frontal lobe all the way back to the cerebellum and everything in between. Our brains are musical, and it’s no wonder that translates to our bodies as well.  When we listen, we move. Or if you are, say, within the confines of the Muni or your local Safeway, you imagine movement. Or a reel, fictional or real, plays in your mind.

Choreographer Khala Brannigan, the musicians of Brass Magic, videographer Peter Clark and four contemporary dancers seek to make the elements of the brain’s response to sound come alive at “Quintessence” January 20 & 21. The concept is to attempt to show the light and dark sides of quintessence, the refined essence of art.

All of the artists were involved in this process; during rehearsals, as the contemporary dancers danced, the musicians crafted a sound around their movement and refined it until it fit the exact emotion they were expressing. The results? Well, you can see them at the show, as well as an entirely improvised section.

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One of the dancers, Leyna Swoboda, reflects on her process, “This show has been an opportunity to explore different textures and intentions in my dancing. Especially having the privilege of working with live musicians, we can delve further into what exact color we are want to show, and how it compliments the other moods.” She continues, “It's been interesting considering quintessence…at least in art, searching for something is always more interesting than presenting answers.”

Branningan’s movement is inspired by the wind and the water-- fluid and momentous. Swoboda praises Branningan, saying she challenges the dancers and musicians to “use our imagination to guide us, instead of just using mindless improv or muscle memory.”

Swoboda also speaks highly of working with Brass Magic, “Dancing with a live musician is awesome. You can make eye contact and play off of each other and it is much more of a collaboration, a team effort than just someone memorizing counts and repeating the steps the same way every time.”

As the artists explore quintessence in art and in their own lives, they hope the audience will be inspired to do the same.

 
Quintessence
Safehouse Arts at 1 Grove St.
January 20, 2016
8pm, $10-$20 sliding scale

Quintessence
Safehouse Arts at 1 Grove St.
January 21, 2016
8pm, $10-$20 sliding scale

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