Pale Blue Dot was inspired by the now-famous snapshot from Voyager II, taken over 6 billion miles away from the Earth in 1990. The photograph shows the Earth as a tiny bluish speck suspended in a beam of light from the sun. From that distance and with the current technology, in this standard-side picture, the Earth is the size of a half of a pixel. The acclaimed astronomer Carl Sagan (who actually directed Voyager to turn its camera and take the photo) wrote a book entitled Pale Blue Dot wherein he muses and extrapolates on both the history and future of humanity in space. It is from these ideas that this ballet grew.
The plot itself follows the first human explorer to leave the solar system. he is alone, and it is a one-way trip without a destination. He encounters an alien explorer, also flying solo. The alien has been gathering data on the Earth for many millennia, and the two have a conversation on topics ranging from environmentalism to human nature, religion, and our eventual place in the universe.
Dance Piece : 2013
5 Snapshots : Alto Flute / Viola / Cello / Bass
Dance Piece was composed in the Spring of 2013 at the request of a fellow composer. He had been composing for a choreographer’s final project, but had to step down in the middle of the collaborative process. As such, I entered into the project with half the choreography already complete based on different music. The choreography tells the story of five people, all of whom enter into different forms of relationships. It is more than a linear narrative: each of the six parts is a snapshot of all five narratives and how each line interacts. In the supporting music, I aimed not to describe the characters or their relationships, but to provide an atmosphere in which the dancers can live. The lines in the music reflect the linear narratives, and trace their own musical reflections and refractions of the story on stage.
Dance Piece II : 2013
5 Snapshots : Soprano / Cello / Percussion
Dance Piece II is the second of my works for the choreographers at the Boston Conservatory. It was composed between September and October of 2013 for the project of choreographer Ines Beamonte-Cosin, whose piece followed a main character and three aspects of her self, exploring such themes as pain, sorrow, and loneliness. It has been my own experience that the most lonely I have ever felt is when I am upset and surrounded by others. Thus, while the music is inextricable from the motion on stage, the spectrum of connectivity between the dancers is inversely correlated to the connectivity of the musicians. For example, in the original choreography, section I is a quartet of simultaneous choreography, and the music is a disconnected string of solos, whereas the next section is a quartet of individual choreography, and the music is all three instruments working together. In this way, the music comments on the dance, but also provides an introspective backdrop.