In 2021, the dance company Sasha Waltz & Guests began an innovative artistic process that results in the continuous production of both digital and live formats. Terry Riley’s “In C” (1964) forms the musical foundation of this, an open composition that was revolutionary at the time and is generally considered the first piece of minimalist music. Based on this milestone of music history, Sasha Waltz and her dancers developped choreographic material that follows a similarly variable structure and is deliberately designed not to be a finished stage piece. In March 2021 “In C” received its world premiere on a livestream from the radialsystem in Berlin to the sound of a recording by “Bang on a Can”.
“In C” is an experimental, constantly evolving process that once again reconceives and refines Sasha Waltz & Guests’ long-standing approach as well as the dialogue between dance, music and space, both digitally and in real life. At the same time, it explores the potential of flexible artistic production in times of pandemic and of artistic exchange, even across national borders. F.e. the individual movement phrases have also been recorded as video tutorials, which allows dancers to learn the choreographic material digitally and remotely.
The score of “In C” consists of fifty-three musical phrases and reads like stage directions for musicians. The thought of translating these detailed instructions into dance through a choreographic exploration of the music appealed to me. The result is an experimental system of fifty-three movement phrases for a structured improvisation with clear rules and laws. The length of the piece remains variable, as does the number of musicians and dancers. “In C” is a dynamic, modular system that remains adaptable in times of pandemic. It is an exciting challenge to be able to develop so many different variations and formats from it in the future, both for professional dancers and, in the long term, for children and amateurs.Sasha Waltz