Combining Medias: Music & Dance in

An interesting combination of music and dance will serve as a milestone for one of Andover’s most beloved faculty members. Today and Saturday in Tang Theater, Instructor in Music Peter Warsaw will collaborate with the Andover Dance Group in a performance called “A/Round,” a modern dance featuring Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.” The idea for this event was first developed 11 years ago, when Warsaw first began working on the “Goldberg Variations.” While skiing in Alta during his sabbatical, Warsaw realized that the “Goldberg Variations” suggested kinetic ideas and gestures. The physical exertion of skiing provoked this thought, and he decided that piece should be intertwined with dance. This year, Instructors in Dance Erin Strong and Judy Wombwell have worked with Warsaw to produce this performance, “A/Round.” The Andover Dance Group has been practicing diligently all year, working to bring the dream to life. Renee Amirault ’07, a member of Andover Dance Group, said, “Everything from the choreography to the costumes and, of course, Warsaw all fit together perfectly. It not only marks the end of an amazing experience here at Andover for me but also for Warsaw as well, and so we are very grateful to be able to dance to his music.” Wombwell and Warsaw have worked together on various pieces in the past. Warsaw said, “Music is so physical, as is dance. The most important element in music and dance is rhythm, and that’s where we come together. We collaborate so that physical gestures are both visible and audible.” “A/Round” will be performed in Tang Theater, in the round-stage formation. “It is interesting to dance in the round because you can be seen at all angles and your interaction with the audience is extremely important. I don’t believe we have ever danced with the audience quite so close, so I am excited for the energy that this type of interaction will create,” Amirault said of the set-up. Throughout the term, the Andover Dance Group has only been able to practice with recordings of Warsaw’s playing. Last week, however, was their first joint practice. Although only together for an hour, both sides of the performance are optimistic. “I tried to keep one eye on their dancing, and see how my playing was affected by them. Their dancing was more organic—I trust that they have been very sensitive to the music. Based on an hour, I think that’s definitely true,” said Warsaw of the successful practice. Amirault agrees of the complementing aspects of the event. “Although his playing sounds exactly like the tapes we have been rehearsing to, there is this sort of give and take between the dancers and him that is wonderful.” In terms of the music—Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” are Warsaw’s favorite piece. “It’s my desert island piece. If I were stranded on a desert island, this is the piece I would bring to listen to.” Warsaw sees this weekend’s performance as a “leap of faith.” Generally, those performing the “Goldberg Variations” spend four to five hours a day practicing, as opposed to the few that Warsaw fits in during the whole week. “It’s a problem finding the time to play all of these pieces back-to-back to build up stamina.” Elucidating the entirety of the piece, Warsaw remarked, “I think these are the greatest set of variations ever written – certainly the most intricate. Very taxing, mentally in particular, and physically too. They are very unique in literature. Almost 70 minutes, almost a whole program.” Since Warsaw is leaving Andover next year and taking a position at Deerfield, “A/Round” marks one of the final milestones of his career here. Warsaw concluded, “I’m aware that it’s among the last—definitely my final solo performance. This is a labor of great love. We’ll just have to see what happens.”