Cacophony for 8 Players

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Cacophony for 8 Players-Portland July 2013

From left: Beth Graczyk, Allie Hankins, Torben Ulrich and Angelina Baldoz in a performance
of Cacophony for 8 Players at Washington Hall in Seattle, Washington, January 2014.

"Cacophony for 8 Players" is a dance, sound and visual-theater collaboration between director/multi-media artist Torben Ulrich, composer/musician Angelina Baldoz and choreographer/dancer Beth Graczyk.

Drawing upon historical forms and ideas from theater, dance and music, "Cacophony for 8 Players" explores collisions in time and space of divergent artistic elements and inspirations. Eight voices of the past press against each other through the flux of dissonance and possible concordances, weaving fragments of dance, music and textural audio into an enriching backdrop for a new voice (a peaceful ninth) to emerge.

Applying key texts written by eight prominent figures of the performative arts — Bharata Muni, Abhinavagupta, August Bournonville, Vaslav Nijinsky, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Maya Deren and Pina Bausch — the work is built upon a desire to honor ideas of history, in a meeting open to both confluence and rebellion, in a structure both deliberate and improvisational.

Joining Ulrich and Graczyk are celebrated dance artists Allie Hankins and, for the Seattle 2012 performance, Peggy Piacenza. In subsequent performances, Baldoz also was the fourth performer. The four interplay with four movable body sculptures, clothed in perforated gut-skin, pointing to the past, still vivid yet deteriorating. While still giving space to solo forms, this collective structure reflects divergent textures and energies, ricocheting and meshing like the figures of history.

"Cacophony for 8 Players" begins with a recorded overture composed by Baldoz and featuring Tari Nelson-Zagar on violin. In addition, Baldoz performs live on bass guitar, trumpet, flutes, voice and electronics, dynamically interacting with the dancers as well as with the sculptures, which emanate audio recordings of the historical text-fragments, interpreted by Baldoz, triggered through independent speakers inside the four sculptures.

The sculptures were created by Portland-based visual artists Steven Berardelli and Micki Skudlarczyk. Lighting design is by Amiya Brown, costume design by Mark Ferrin, scenic design by Corrie Befort and video work by Clyde Pedersen.

Very special thanks go to artist Gertrud Parker for early inspiration for the sets.

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