Composer Shawn Decker has been deeply involved with electronic music since his graduate-student days at Northwestern in the early 80s. And as a member of the avant-garde group Kapture for several seasons, he came to enjoy the give-and-take of collaboration. Then, last fall, choreographer Shirley Mordine approached him about a joint venture: she wanted to make a dance about how the media can distort the truth, and she wanted music that would somehow interact with the dancers. Decker came up with a system of five light sensors, evenly spaced across the back of the stage. When a dancer’s movement blocks a beam of light, the sensor activates a programmed series of sounds: xylophones, drum rolls. He’s also built in an element of chance with “dice” icons. “The sets of possibilities are kept deliberately small, so as not to disorient the dancers,” he says. “The overall atmosphere stays pretty much the same. But these are rules that keep changing. The rhythmic energies, the silences can be altered slightly as a result. The dancers, in a way, guide the music with their motion. All this I think creates a certain kind of tension for the dancers and the audience. And it may heighten what Shirley sees as the ever-shifting sense of truth.” Besides Truth Spin Mordine & Company Dance Theatre will perform Stream of Recollection, developed by Mordine with James Grigsby and Catherine Slade, and Request Concert, another premiere, directed by Slade and featuring soprano Carol Loverde. Thursdays through Saturdays, May 6-8 and 13-15, at 8 at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 4730 N. Sheridan. Tickets are $8-$14. For more info, call 271-7928.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Steven D. Arazmus.