Soul Reflections

“This is a face in the universe. It can belong to anybody. Don’t forget that you have a soul. That’s the reason you are here on this earth.”

~Heloise Crista, Call of the Soul

In 2011 members of DancEnsemble had travelled to Crista’s — home to interview the artist and study her work as part of a Laycock collaborative arts project. Their goal was a concert of new dance based on these sculptures with original music and choreography. When Kamarie Fernandes (member and president of the BYU DancEnsemble, 2011/12) asked me to compose music for her choreography based on Crista’s “Call of the Soul” I jumped
at the opportunity.

As I studied Crista’s artwork and attended rehearsals I found myself dancing through motions that the music and sculpture called for–all while taking notes on cues Kamarie wanted in the score. This unification of dance, music, and sculpture was new, but despite our differing artistic backgrounds I was able to learn the ensemble’s needs and we fused the physical and musical gestures into a single work.

The production required a recorded backing track for rehearsal and performance so I figured that if it was going to be recorded I should take advantage of the expanded capabilities of electronic music. “Soul Reflections” is the electronic composition that accompanies Kamarie and Heloise’s “Call of the Soul.” The score calls for piano, oboe, and flute–all manipulated during postproduction. I recorded the acoustic instruments in BYU’s Studio Y and did all of the post production with ProTools in BYU’s Electronic Music Studio. Kamarie’s vision called for circular, ciclic imagery that reflected the eternal nature of the soul. I chose a pitch collection based on stacked fifths to represent this completeness.

There are three sections to the piece. The first deals with solitude. The dancer begins her journey searching, exploring, and feeling her way through life. She seems to be alone but quickly comes to the realization that there is something more that herself on the stage of life. The second segment deals with these other selves. The flute plays a simple imitative melody as the other dancers imitate and mirror the soloist’s motions. This melody gives way to the clicks of the flute which are amplified and cross faded in slowly. In the final section the soloist comes into alignment with the many dancers–like a soul looking into double mirrors that reflect into infinity. After this realization the soloist ends, alone again, looking into a mirror. However now, she understands that she is never alone in the universe because of her soul.

A special thanks to Kamarie Fernandes (Choreographer) for her patience, professionalism, and diligence. Also dancers Chelsea Alley, Katie Bourne, Emily Dance, Alissa Gibb Esther Hopkin, Heidi Jorgensen, Kecey Schneider, Kelli Thredgold and Elise Townsend, for their energy and constant input. The Laycock Center for Collaboration in the Arts cannot be overlooked in its generous funding. And a very special thanks Heloise Crista, for her work, openness, and involvement in bringing this sculpture to life through dance.

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