daily kaddish: from the dance floor



This weekend I have my first rehearsals with Charlotte Adams, her dance troupe, and tuba genius John Manning at the University of Iowa in preparation for their fall Dance Gala at the end of October.

The opening of our improvisatory, collaborative work has me lying on my back at the front of the stage, just off-center to stage right, playing the opening lines of “Kaddish” until a dancer (Jenny) snatches my horn and runs offstage with it. I gape, astonished, another dancer (Isaac) helps me up, and I run offstage after my horn. Then I make my way behind the legs and the back curtain around to the rear left and I join tubist John Manning in the next improvisatory section, already in progress.

Tonight we worked the dance in sections, experimenting with musical ideas, transitions, blocking, cues, and so on. Then we tried a run-through from the top, which I recorded on my iPad, which was sitting just off-stage, stage right. For podcast purposes I’m fading the recording out just after my horn is snatched—if you’re interested in the whole dance and our music for it, you’ll have to come to Iowa in a few weeks.

It’s really hard playing horn while lying on my back! My air support, posture, pressure against the chops, left (valve-pushing) hand position, and right (bell maneuvers) hand position are all significantly affected, and worst of all, condensation collects in the horn differently when it’s upside-down, and in tonight’s take you’ll hear the consequences. Those scratching and gurgling sounds are water getting in the way.

About erin

Erin Vang, PMP, BMus, MMus, is Owner and Principal Pragmatist of the consultancy Global Pragmatica LLC®, offering custom JMP scripting, localization program management, and facilitative leadership services. She is also an orchestral horn player who freelances in the San Francisco Bay Area and plays assorted brass for the celebrated dance bands Midnight Smørgåsbord and contraPtion. More about Erin…
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