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Project leader:
Tormod Dalen

Project period:
2009 – 2014

Research centre:
NordART

Approach:
Artistic research

Topic:
Dance, Early music

Fellowship project
Artistic Research Fellowship Programme

How could the practice of baroque dance influence the interpretation of the Bach Suites?

The dance titles of J.S. Bach's cello suites, derived from French court dance, clearly meant more to the composer than just abstract reference. In Bach's time, dance practice permeated social life, and it was indispensable for a musician to have an intimate knowledge of the fashionable dance forms. The movements and gestures of these dances inevitably had a profound influence on performance style.

This fellowship project has investigated how the practice of baroque dance could influence the interpretation of the Bach Suites. Learning the essentials of this style and its original choreographies and frequently accompanying dancing, the artist/researcher also explored the dance aspect of the cello suites by way of experiments with historical tempos as well as melodic and rhythmic reductions of the musical material.

The project offers a recontextualisation of Bach’s work that emphasizes the close links between the expressive gestures of music and dance. The results have both artistic and pedagogic potential as tools to discover essential aspects of dance character in baroque music

Results / publications:

Project leader

Tormod Dalen

Tormod Dalen

Former employee (Research Fellow 2009–2014)


Last updated: 27. September 2014