As Jack and I were sifting through footage from our shoot, I was also searching for sound. I do this in any typical choreographic process; a sifting-for-gold, trial-and-error, intuitive listening period that requires, for me, a blurring or expansion of the mind, a loosening of control.
We started editing studies together with minimalist sound, found sound, natural sound; all fine but nothing quite right. Then I heard this stunning composition by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, “Sept Papillon,” (Seven Butterflies) and something clicked. It was the piece for our footage.
“Sept Papillon” is not a composition I’d have chosen for the stage. It has an intense, unrelenting proximity to it; a sensory detail that you can feel in the hairs on your arms, at the base of your neck. It’s as though a giant aural lens is aimed at the unfolding drama of insects.
The close-up quality of Saariaho’s music connects vividly with movement on film, yet the same piece would have overwhelmed or brutalized bodies moving onstage. This was an interesting lesson for me: film requires sound that puts us back inside our bodies.