Folding & Unfolding - Rehearsal

Created for the Corbridge Chamber Music Festival 2020.

An interest in origami and how it could be represented through dance became the starting point for this piece. Over the course of folding many paper cranes, thoughts about the movement involved in folding the paper, as well as how the sequence of folds gradually changed the paper’s shape, led to seeing it as a form of dance. This informed the baseline intention when it came to generating choreographic material through improvisation. Visualising the body as origami and observing how it folded and changed into different shapes.

The music, having four movements, each with unique character and atmosphere, necessitated a reflection of this, conceptually in the choreography. From this emerged a meditation on what a paper crane, and by extension a body is. What is the shape of the body if it is constantly changing through motion? Similarly, when unfolded or refolded, do the fold lines remain a defining characteristic of the paper crane? This led to each of the four movements representing different stages in the process of folding and unfolding. The first movement a newly folded crane, the second movement a crane unfolded leaving only creased lines, the third a crane partly refolded and the fourth a fully refolded crane.

These four forms of a paper crane guided the dancer in terms of his movement response when interacting with each one. The newly folded crane suggested a focus on its structure, giving the dancer’s movements a quality of consideration, taking time and finding stillness in each shape. The unfolded crane bore a similarity to sheet music, in that the remaining creased lines communicated the way to refold the crane, as with sheet music holding the code to create sound. This tasked the dancer with reading the lines like a musician reads a score, bringing the crane out of the paper and into the dancer. The partly refolded crane allowed the dancer to explore the space between positions, sit in incomplete shapes and move with a separated quality. The last and fully refolded crane, combining the previous stages, led the dancer to greater dynamism as he moved between the forms with the freedom of newfound understanding.

Music: Four Fables by Huw Watkins
performed by the Gould Piano Trio
Dancer: Kenji Wilkie
Photography: Victoria Francisca