Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An Afternoon with Philip Glass

Last week, Emory University had the pleasure of hosting Philip Glass, world renowned composer and musical genius.  Glass has created several operas, concertos, and symphonies, and is considered one of the most influential composers of the 20th century.  Glass is most well-known for his “minimalist” style and use of repetition in his works.
The Emory Dance Program was especially excited to have the privilege of spending the afternoon with Glass to discuss his work and his past collaborations with groundbreaking choreographers, including Lucinda Childs, Yvonne Rainer, and Twyla Tharp.  Students of the Choreography I and Introduction to Dance classes had the opportunity to ask Glass about his work and his creative process.

Some highlights of the conversation were when Glass spoke of ways in which the composition of music and dance are connected.  A student asked how he started a new work, to which he responded, “Just go!”  Glass talked about how we are always going to have to answer the question of what comes next, and we’re always going to have to work through the kinks that come with composition.  

Glass also commented that we all have natural tendencies that we always seem to find our way back to.  He mentioned that sometimes when we are creating a new work it feels like we're making something we've already done and the real challenge is to go against what we are comfortable with.  Just like music composition, in choreography we all have movement affinities that we are naturally drawn to.  We share the challenge of taking what comes easily to us and manipulating it into something new that surprises ourselves.

Listening to Glass' personal experiences and his journey to where he is now left all who were present inspired and so very grateful to have had such a unique opportunity. 

For information on the Emory Dance Program, please go to our website or check out our Facebook page.

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