An Evening of Modern Dance, Music, Art, Featuring Oberlin Senior, Guests

Nicole Gutman

The Modern Music Guild invited percussionist Flandrew Fleisenberg and dancer Loren Gronendaal to perform a concert Feb. 17 with Conservatory senior Ian McColm. Their performances captured audiences with the outstanding use of dance, music and visual art.

McColm composed and performed a piece, which featured a technique of performing over recorded music. However, these sound bites were recorded live on stage, and then instantly played back. McColm’s performance revolved around him recording himself playing on an amplified drum set, stopping to playback the recording and then continuing to perform over it. This intricate cycle occurred multiple times through McColm’s piece.

Within the piece, McColm placed a cymbal on a floor tom, a low-tuned drum, and blew into the hole of the cymbal. The vibration produced sound similar to a group of trumpets. McColm’s use of recordings allowed him to simulate the sound of a large ensemble. Decorating McColm’s drums was a collection of plastic apples featuring smiley faces. As he played, they created subtle, thin sounds. After the concert McColm revealed they were bath toys he bought on eBay. He found them interesting because their slightly different weights allowed for new tunings to sound.

The contemporary performance of Fleisenberg and Gronendaal filled the second half of the program. Their piece focused on the interaction between a dancer and a percussionist. The percussion was unique, incorporating a bucket of water and a bundt pan as two of the instruments. Gronendaal danced to Fleisenberg’s music, but often the two switched roles. Fleisenberg would depart from his instruments and encircle Grondal, while she would create percussive sounds with her feet or the duct tape she incorporated in her dance. A moment in their performance featured Fleisenberg sitting quietly, while Gronendaal rubbed her hand against the wall to create the beat.

Throughout the performance, Gronendaal incorporated different colors of tape. She used the tape in her dance creating percussive sounds as she unwrapped the tape or swung it around her. During her dance she would attach the tape to a white board on stage, but occasionally affixed it on the floor, a door handle, an instrument or a window. There were moments where she walked on the tape as if it were a tightrope.

The concert featured two great performances by three exceptional performers. The pieces were modern and incorporated unique musical methods, challenging how music traditionally is performed and received. The Modern Music Guild has invited talented guest artists throughout the year, yet the performances have not received a large amount of attention. Despite the high quality of Fleisenberg, Gronendaal and McColm’s show, the audience was low in numbers.