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Last modified: Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hammer and Nail: IU presents original contemporary dance, music

April 4, 2011

WHAT: "Hammer and Nail," presented by the IU Student Composer Association and the IU Dance Theatre.
WHEN: April 13-14 (Wednesday-Thursday) Program A at 6:30 p.m., Program B at 8:30 p.m. both evenings.
WHERE: Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave.
TICKETS: Admission is free. Donation of a non-perishable food item and/or a cash contribution to the Hoosier Hills Food Bank is encouraged. Those who make food or cash donations will receive a special $15 prix fixe menu at Farm Bloomington on the evenings of the performances.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The sixth annual "Hammer and Nail" concert on April 13-14 (Wednesday-Thursday) in Bloomington continues the tradition of pairing Indiana University student choreographers and composers for an evening of inventive and dynamic original contemporary dance.

Hammer and Nail 2011

Contemporary dance majors from the School of HPER rehearse 'One of Many' for Hammer and Nail.

Print-Quality Photo

Students majoring in contemporary dance at School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation teamed with students majoring in composition at the Jacobs School of Music to explore inter-art collaboration, to combine their dance, musical and life experiences into works that in many cases have become greater than the sum of their parts.

"He's able to put my initial ideas into a musical language, and from there I get to interpret my own ideas even further from how he interpreted them," said junior Mollie O'Reilly of her work with freshman composition major Will Rowe. And then factor in what O'Reilly's seven dancers bring to the dance floor. "It's grown more than I expected it to."

Her piece with Rowe, One of Many, explores the human life cycle, looking at three distinct stages -- early childhood, chaotic teen and young adult years, and then a more mature stage later in life. O'Reilly, who has danced since kindergarten, draws from her curiosity about childhood development, something she's exploring through a service learning class involving Girls, Inc., in Bloomington. Works by other students range from vignettes based on horror movies from the 1950s to meditations on wind patterns.

"There's a lot of playful and inventive collaborations between the choreographers and the composers, where the composer might not have prepared a score like that or the choreographer might not have created a piece like that without the collaborative experience," said Selene Carter, visiting lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology and its Contemporary Dance Program. "There are interesting meters, instrumentation. Many were pushed outside their comfort zone."

Altogether, 16 choreographer-composer pairings have created original works of five minutes or less that will be performed each night either during Program A, which begins at 6:30 p.m., or Program B, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Admission is free, and donations of food and/or cash contributions will be accepted for the Hoosier Hills Food Bank. Last year's donations provided the food bank approximately 1,075 meals.

Carter said the live, original music makes Hammer and Nail unique. The dancers, ranging from solos to as many as eight, are accompanied by string quartets, percussion ensembles, electronic music with live computer feeds, vocals and other arrangements.

Rowe's composition, Unus Plurium, which is Latin for "one of many," includes a flute, clarinet, trombone, two percussionists, viola, cello and a double bass. Rowe said he knew little about modern dance before this project but became an apt student. Intrigued by the possibilities of inter-art collaboration, he said he jumped at the opportunity to participate. It is not uncommon for his peers to test such waters, he said, with some composing chamber operas, multimedia performances and other collaborative projects.

"The artistic world is our oyster right now," said Rowe, who wrote his first composition when 11. "We're just doing our best to make the most of it."

Hammer and Nail is sponsored by the School of HPER, IU Student Association and the Jacobs School of Music.

For more information, contact Justin Zuschlag at 812-320-2726 or