Accelerated digital technology progress has trapped our lives into a visually overloaded environment; this has created a decline in attention, concentration and appreciation, causing disaffection, nervousness and alienation. The value of hearing has decreased and created barriers between human interactions.
Taking inspiration from this and other awe-inspiring aspects of ear science, composer Roberto David Rusconi and choreographer Sandrine Monin are working in partnership with Royal National Institute of Blind People, BlindAid, UCL Ear Institute and UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, Centre School of Ballet, L-Acoustics and EartH Theatre Hackney, to create a new dance production and an associated creative programme for visually impaired and blind people, illuminating our relationship with the sound environment.
Their first major dance work for the world-renowned EartH Theatre, Monolith will use movement, science and music to investigate a subject which can’t help but ignite the imagination.
WHO THEY ARE
Sandrine and Roberto’s working relationship started in 2015 when they collaborated as part of a Choreographer and Composer laboratory programme with Phoenix Dance Theatre. They recognised the potential in this collaboration and offered the first commission to a company dancer (Sandrine) to develop her work with Roberto to a completed 20-minute production Calyx which toured the UK and festivals in Germany and China. Calyx attracted critical success and was named ‘Best Premiere’ as part of the Critic’s Choice in Dance Europe Magazine.
"Roberto Rusconi's music is an exciting range of melody, ambient sound, spoken French text and menacing other-wordy effects, like an intimation of birdsong or the strident breathing of a dinosaur. The connection between the musical and choreographic texts is intimate and complementary: Monin and Rusconi are real finds!" Dance Europe, March 2017
Photo: Brian Slater
Kirke represented the next stage in this exciting collaboration offering the opportunity to bring greater resources to the musical element and experiment with fully immersive surround sound within a dance performance context. In 2018, Kirke was performed in Bern in front of an international audience at Dampfzentrale and then at the annual Phoenix At Home platform in Leeds.
"A powerful soundtrack composed by Roberto David Rusconi opens by setting an ethereal, monastic atmosphere and climbs to a cacophony to accompany the beastly acts of Odysseus and his men." Yorkshire Times, October 2018
“Monin has collaborated with the outstanding composer Roberto David Rusconi whose score includes unusual sounds and atmospheres, to create an immersive score which uses extremely high and low resonances. Monin conjures up a world of timeless mystery…she is definitely a choreographer of whom to take note” Dance Europe 2018
Photo: Brian Slater
Their collaboration continued with Hidden, the music and choreography inspired by the chaotic life of London performed by dancers of Central School of Ballet at UCL Bloomsbury Theatre in 2019.
“The dancers looked polished, confident and inspired. Hidden, by Sandrine Monin, showed a strong choreographic voice with its dynamic movement and interesting concept.” Dance Europe Magazine, Aug/Sept 2019
Photo: Patrick Baldwin
The emphatically positive response has led to Roberto and Sandrine exploring opportunities to realise Monolith, their new production.
THEY NEED YOU
To realise this project, we need support from a variety of sources: commissioning funds, performance fees, Arts Council England project funding, grants from trusts and foundations, in-kind support from partner organisations and donations from people like you.
The creation phase of the project begins in January. Your investment now, will:
- Afford Sandrine more time and space to work with dancers and visually impaired and blind people,
- Enable us to hire a large dance floor and to create the stage scenography so that we can present the choreography with maximum impact,
- Enable us to film the dancers’ work, investing in the long term promotion, touring and shelf life of the show,
- Support dancers’ fees for the rehearsal and development of the work,
- Contribute towards the costs of the costume design and making,
- Provide props and light design.
MONOLITH – CREATIVE TEAM
Composer: Roberto David Rusconi
Choreographer: Sandrine Monin
CREATIVE PROGRAMME – FRAGILE
The Monolith project also incorporates an innovative Creative Programme with workshops for visually impaired and blind people with following the performance at The Bloomsbury Theatre. Created with input from UCL scientists and the artists' team, the workshops will draw on the creative process around the making of Monolith, combining artistic and scientific concepts to explore the parallels between the two.
We want to make music, science and dance engaging and accessible to visually impaired and blind people.
Fragile, our creative programme is premised on the idea that learning through movement and sound can help people understand scientific concepts and information by exploring it through the body, and that learning about science through the arts, can spark deeper understanding and engagement by more people. This project will promote a deeper understanding of movement and its ability to draw together fields as diverse as choreography and physics.
The programme includes offerings for visually impaired people workshops about sound and movement classes.
Together we will explore undiscovered areas of music and sound, the stages of noise along with the journey into movement.
Any donation, big or small, will help us to move audiences, inspire people, engage visually impaired people and ignite imaginations. With your help, this project will bring a fascinating perspective on soundscape and movement to new audiences.