Presenting: The Makespeak Roundup

by Haggai Cohen-Milo

The Makespeak Roundup is a monthly performance series seeking to understand and reconcile the disparity between musical and movement/dance articulations in spoken language.

With specific rules of engagement, a dancer is pushed to talk about music and a musician to talk about dance, in order to describe what they want from one another.

With an eavesdropping audience, the dancer verbalizes the music/sounds they imagine for a piece they are about to perform together. Then the musician responds by expressing the movement/scenes they imagine. These descriptions can be detailed or amorphous, referential or demonstrative. Staying as true as possible to the exchange, they then execute a 15 minute piece that is invariably in constant play with the expectations built.

ROUNDUP 3 April 27th

by Haggai Cohen-Milo

DANCE: Holly Sass & Justin Faircloth
MUSIC: Richie Barshay, Michael Coleman & Haggai Cohen-Milo

1st round  (Holly and Michael)

Holly: you cannot play C or F.
Michael: You cannot leave the ground.

2nd round (Justin & Richie)

Richie: Incorporate lots of repetition but without regular spacing between the repetition.
Justin: You can’t play for more than 5 seconds at a time.
Richie: I like arms.  Use your fingers a lot.

3rd round (Holly, Justin & Haggai)

Haggai: Can you use a lot of pedestrian movement?  Transform pedestrian movement into the dance.
Holly:  You have to hold your bass in a different orientation, not like this (showing the normal way to play the bass).
Haggai: Start the piece where you enter in the far door near the audience and leave out the other door for the ending.
Justin: Play something jazzy.
Haggai: Have a clear dominant & submissive relationship between you - who is who can change in a moment back and forth.

4th round ensemble: (all performers)

Michael: You (to dancers) have to always be touching each other at the knee.
Justin:  You (to piano) can play no less than 5 notes at once.
Richie: Create lots of floor squeaking sounds.
Holly: You all (to musicians) have to switch instruments - musicians choose  (bass player moves to piano, percussion moves to bass, & piano moves to percussion).
Haggai:  Start the piece with speech and end it with terrible laughter and/or crying.
Holly:  You (to musicians) each take us through a natural disaster from the beginning of a storm to how is dissipates.  Bass is earthquake, Percussion is Hurricane, Piano is Tornado.

5th round ensemble: (full cast) with audience directions

Audience instruction to musicians: Create the most emotionally beautiful music you can come up with.
Audience instruction to dancers: An event tool - You control the other dancer by making a loud noise/scream and the other dancer has to close his/her eyes and dance for 20 seconds.  This power can go back and forth and can be used whenever you decide.
Audience instruction to musicians: Bass takes the melody line and piano takes the bass. Piano and bass play together, percussion plays by itself - those rolls trade. 
Audience instruction to dancers: Leap.  Or lifting - leave the ground more to make the piece less grounded because the evening so far felt close to the ground a lot. 



ROUNDUP 2 April 22nd

by Haggai Cohen-Milo

DANCE: Alex Jenkins & Nicholas Grubbs
MUSIC: Aaron Parks & Haggai Cohen-Milo

1st round  (Nicholas & Aaron)

Nicholas:  Something that starts very far off & has a sense of coming much closer to this space.
Aaron: You need the light, but you don’t really want to look at it.
Nicholas: The tone is melancholy but there are interjections of crazed, not necessarily happy, moments.  
Aaron: I’m trying to find a thing that will fit with what we already have…..In conjunction with starting from far away and finding our way to here you do exactly that.  I mirror your turning back to me.  

2nd Round (Aaron and Alex)

Aaron: You’re movement initially is robotic and mechanical and slowly you start being able to move normally/fluidly.
Alex: Start really rhythmic & become melodic
Aaron: There is one moment where regardless of what stage you’re at you loose all control and the control is given to some other force.  
Alex: So when you are rhythmic - it’s very neutral and it become nostalgic when you are melodic.

3rd Round (Haggai, Nicholas & Alex)

Haggai:  You guys start by yourselves (to dancers).  It starts very very small, in order to give yourself the chance to vibe and get on the same frequency and then from there on - the whole progression is so that you can hardly tell why the next thing happens.  It progresses so slowly that you can hardly tell from moment to moment that it’s moving at all - but it is.
Alex: Interspersing moments of humor
Haggai: Can you, at some point, about 70% into the piece, forget about the slow progression thing and you take the memory of everything that happened before and dance it backward in the remaining 30% that’s left.
Nicholas: You’re not allowed to use your bow.

4th Round (all performers)

Nicholas: One of you (to musicians) is always in 5/4 and the other can't stick to any specific rhythm.
Aaron: Nicholas, your left hand is sticky. Oh, and it wears off eventually. 
Alex: (to musicians) Start more ambient and get to something more specific, more recognizable.
Haggai: Alex, you sometimes have this thing where you copy everything Nicholas is doing and you try your best to be sneaky about it. 

ROUNDUP 1 March 18th

by Haggai Cohen-Milo

DANCE: Dana Katz & Chihiro Shimizu
MUSIC: Mateo Lugo, James Shipp & Haggai Cohen-Milo 

1st Round  (Dana & Mateo)

Dana: Would you be interested in playing an interpretation of any section from Dark Side of the Moon, you can change the material however you like.
Mateo:  Always be in one of two states.  The first state is shaking - anything just shaking.  The second state, you choose one movement and you repeat it, any organic change you notice in your repetitive movement you incorporate.

2nd Round (Mateo, James and Chihiro)

James: You can’t use your legs, they don’t work. You wish to, you long to so badly, but you can’t.
Chihiro: I see 2 scenes, first is a carnival, kids, lot’s of noise, etc. at some point balloon pops and switch to 2nd scene.  The most quiet biggest lake, and there’s a boat with an old man on it.
Mateo: You make your way from one side of the room to the other side. At any point you stop, close your eyes and dance the oldest choreography you remember learning.

"you can't use your legs"

3rd Round  (all performers)

Haggai: You are in 2 states/relationship with each other: love and hate.  When involve you can’t touch and when you are in the hating emotion you have to maintain physical contact at all times.
Chihiro: Can you play as if you are on a conveyor belt moving around this room?
ateo: Whenever you choose one of you stops and strikes a pose.  The other one has to mirror this pose every details with slight exaggeration.
Dana:  Each time the sound comes around it paints a day from sunrise to sunset.
James: When you are the loving state you are united by your hatred for the audience.
Chihiro: Can you play in such a way as you make the sound move around the room the color changes, starting with white and going to yellow, oranges, red, and then brown.  Like this.

4th Round (all performers)

Audience to Musicians: Please play the grooviest thing you ever played?
Audience to Dancers: Can you put every action you do on the beat of the music? Moving and not moving - whatever this means to you.
Dancers to Musician:  Can you make the grooviest music you’ve ever played in the Baroque Style?
Musician to Dancers: Can you make the last minute of the piece, the coda, where you exhaust the rest of the energy you have left, whatever this may take.