March 12, 2016
by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf
“COW” is the Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman’s new creation for the Semperoper Ballet Dresden. As the title suggests, cows – sculptures, not living cattle – are the common thread of this otherwise plotless piece, albeit not dancing but sometimes merely watching what is going on.
The piece is a result of intense teamwork by four artists: composer Mikael Karlsson, costume designer Henrik Vibskov, and multimedia expert T.M.Rives working with Ekman who kept things firmly in hand. Karlsson, who has collaborated with Ekman for several years, contributed the music. He first recorded the basic sounds with Germany’s National Youth Orchestra; then the material was electronically alienated and remixed. It involves a sequence of cowlike “mooing” lasting several minutes. Ekman used the music to generate atmosphere and as a signal for the dancers when to start or which rhythm to keep. One pas de deux, “Silence”, except for single tones, is done without music. The dancers add to the acoustics by speaking, shouting and screaming. One of them, Skyler Maxey-Wert, even sings a song “Nothing Moves a Cow” at the end. (more…)