A Choreographer’s Inspiration


March 5, 2014 – Joshua Hahn

Kathy Hassinger, choreographer, spoke with us about her inspiration for next week’s collaboration. This performance is the result of Kathy’s longstanding friendship with our concertmistress, Kristina Nilsson. “Kristina and I met at The Parish of the Good Shepherd in Waban. We met in a bible study group. We became good friends because we discovered a lot of common interests,” said Kathy. Their friendship developed over many years, and Kathy attended Pro Arte concerts. 

The collaboration started when “this last summer we were having dinner at Kristina’s and I mentioned, would Pro Arte be interested in connecting up with Dance Currents and doing a common concert? And she said ‘Oh, the salon series is being booked this week’ So I told her the best pieces for a collaboration were on the website and for Pro Arte to watch and see if they would work. 

The relationship between live musicians and dancers inspires Kathy. Kathy said, “It’s just amazing because a relationship is set up between the dancers and the musicians, and the audience feels they are participating in this live-happening right-now sort of experience.”

“That combination of live music and live dance can produce something that might be unpredictable, it might be absolutely exquisite, it might be just transcendent, because of the relationship, because the dancers respond so quickly and so innately to the music. It’s like the music hits their muscles. That response then ricochets off to the musicians and to the audience which just makes the live part of performance thrilling.”

Kathy chose the music based on recommendations from musician friends. She first chose these French women composers to celebrate a major anniversary for the Newton Country Day School. This was “because, Newton Country Day School is a Catholic, all-girls school and it’s very French in terms of the origin of the order,” said Kathy. The program stuck and Kathy kept the pieces together for many successful repeat performances.

Kathy celebrates the intersection between sacred and dance music in each of the pieces. “Each of these pieces, the Corelli, the Bach and the Dawn piece, are done together because they are sacred stories. The Bach can be seen as a service:  processional, prayer, song, story, and a sense of release and joy. You can see how it could have been a sacred piece of music, but it ended up being a dance piece because Bach did both.”

“The pre-classic dance suite he composed, the suite in D minor, has a quality about it that is very joyous. It was choreographed originally for a sacred space, but at the same time it’s a dance piece,” said Kathy.  “I believe that dance and music can mediate, or open up a space in ourselves for the sacred and vice versa.”

Get tickets for Spring Celestials 7 PM March 13th, featuring Kathy’s work, here. Tickets for the second performance on March 16th at 3 PM can be found at www.newtoncommunitypride.org