Music 103r: Make dance, make art

by Dance

This spring marks the third year of OFA dance director Jill Johnson's credit course Music 103r: The Choreographic Process of William Forsythe. We asked two previous students, Timothy McCormack PhD '16 and Megan Murdock '14, what makes this course a unique art-making experience.

Megan Murdock '14:

Having worked with Jill Johnson before taking Music 103r, the course provided a window into her creative process. I understood her process better by seeing where she came from, and it gave me another example of what choreography can look like. It was really interesting to observe and experience the choreographic process of Forsythe and then use some of the same prompts to create a new work. And it's always a great experience to work with Jill to make a new piece. There is so much creative exploration involved in the process and it brings out something new every time.

Timothy McCormack PhD '16:

Music 103r provided valuable insight into the collaborative creation process, deeply investigating how a piece comes into being from the ground up. While the focus on William Forsythe and the Forsythe Company was the initial attraction for me, the course proved to expand my basic notions of what 'collaboration' and 'dance' could be.

The course not only changed my perception of dance and choreography by opening up a whole new aesthetic world within the field, it also expanded my conception of what is possible in such a field. The approach to bodily motion prioritized in Music 103r is fairly esoteric, but it is extremely exhilarating and opens itself up not only to other codified dance forms, but to other modalities of art and fields of knowledge as well.

Getting an inside peek into the Forsythe Company's creation process was an invaluable experience for me. This is a unique and auspicious opportunity that anyone interested in creating art with others (not just specifically dance-based art) would not get anywhere else. Furthermore, having the opportunity to be a part of a group of dancers creating a piece together was an important experience for me, not only in terms of the community fostered by the class, but also the time afforded by it. Lastly, simply being able to work with Jill on the particular approach to dance that she so excels in was perhaps the most lasting impact, as it gave me an embodied knowledge that I'll always have with me.

[Caption: Megan Murdock '14, Timothy McCormack PhD '16 and Anise Molina '14 performed in "The Sound of Distance in Itself," choreographed by Jill Johnson in collaboration with students of Music 103r. Photo: Liza Voll]