'Correlated Mediums' aims to investigate the effect of music on movement | Dance | Chicago Reader

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'Correlated Mediums' aims to investigate the effect of music on movement

Esoteric Dance Project’s new program explores what makes us move the way we do.


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Why does some music feel like fuel for your body? That's the question Esoteric Dance Project's co-artistic director, Christopher Tucker, asked himself while getting pumped up by pop music on his morning bike ride to work—and it's the foundation for his piece in the new program "Correlated Mediums." The bill of three original works is built around each of three choreographer's ideas of how music and dance intersect, and Tucker sought to explore how musical structure shapes movement.

"I'm fascinated by what makes pop music so driving, and I've started to see the patterns that emerge in songs," says Tucker. "The first section of my piece is a minimalist composition with a complexity that gets gradually built upon, and then I take the exact same movements, put them to a pop song, and fit them in a different pattern."

His wife and co-artistic director, Brienne Pierson-Tucker, is using "Correlated Mediums" to try something she's never attempted before: incorporating live music into her piece. The connection between music and dance is especially tight when Pierson-Tucker makes vocalist Emilie Stanley, brought in from Las Vegas, a moving part of her visual tableau.

"[Stanley] manipulates the scenarios that the dancers take part in," says Pierson-Tucker. "She's become part of the piece, not just in a vocal range but in a physical movement range."

The third dance comes from Francesca Baron, the latest participant in Esoteric's choreography mentoring program, who takes a sensual as opposed to a schematic approach. "She's a choreographer who feels the music versus counting," says Pierson-Tucker, who performs in Baron's piece. "I've learned a lot about being emotionally oriented to the music."

These choreographers have further enriched their relationships with music by being exposed to each other's perspectives, and "Correlated Mediums" encourages audience members likewise, inviting them to join in asking why it makes us want to move.   v

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