Posted: 12 April 2011
Alan Bush's Twenty Four Preludes for Piano, Op. 84, is providing the music for a new Ballet performed by the company, Ballet in Small Spaces in May 2011.
Choreographer Susie Crow first came across Twenty Four Preludes in the late 1980's after using "Ceremonial" and "Rondino" from Alan Bush's Six Short Pieces for Piano, Op. 99 as the accompaniment to an A Level Technical Studies Dance Set.
The opportunity has finally arisen to use the Twenty Four Preludes as the accompaniment for a dance work as part of a tour supported by the National Lottery. This has been given through Grants for the Arts and the Exuberant Trust, which supports emerging artists in Oxfordshire.
The ballet is called Inside Out and aims to draw the audience into seeing ballet from the inside.
Susie Crow writes: "The interest in making this piece arose from the constant questioning of the relationship of artistry and technique in dance." She wanted to know how "to develop artistry in dancers through and beyond their technical study in ballet dance." She thought that Alan Bush's Twenty Four Preludes "seem to provide an example of how a technical starting point could blossom into artistic expression, and therefore a musical model for developing understanding and skill that could be explored in dance." Susie Crow adds that she had already discovered "the lyricism in Bush's phrasing which seemed to call for interpretation in dance."
Susie Crow argues that there is an element by which the composer sets himself the ultimate technical challenge, by "doing something in every key and mode because he can," thus demonstrating his skill. But also he shows "an obsessive interest in leaving no stone unturned in the exploration of the piano as a way of pushing invention." So the dance work should have "something of this quality of detailed precision and virtuosity in the exploration of what the dancer is capable of."
Susie Crow is delighted that the pianist, Peter Jacobs, who made the original recording of the Twenty Four Preludes and who also worked on the work with the composer himself, will be playing live in all the performances of this new work.
It will be performed alongside another new work, Commedia, set to Robin Holloway's Serenade, during the forthcoming tour by the Ballet in Small Spaces at two venues, The Castle Arts Centre in Wellingborough - there will be matinee and evening performances on Wednesday, 18th May 2011 and at The North Wall, Oxford on Friday, 20th and Saturday 21st May 2011.
For further details about venue and bookings, see www.thecastle.org.uk and www.thenorthwall.com.
For further details about the tour and Ballet in Small Spaces, see www.balletinsmallspaces.co.uk and www.exuberant-trust.org.uk.