May 1: Gretchen Horlacher

Gretchen Horlacher is Professor of Music Theory at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Movement in Music and Dance:  A Neoclassical Collaboration for Orpheus


Imagine the opening of a ballet whose central character stands with his back to the audience, motionless, for more than two minutes. This is exactly what happens in the Stravinsky-Balanchine collaboration for Orpheus from 1948. The opening music also displays unusual qualities of stasis; the alliance between dance and music sets forth a neoclassical work whose scarcity of movement underlies its mournful and ritualistic theme.

The collaborations of composer Igor Stravinsky with choreographer George Balanchine are held as an exemplar of artistic collaboration, and their work together on the ballet Orpheus is documented as particularly close. I will describe ways in which composer and choreographer join musical and physical movement through their coordination of repeated musical and choreographic gestures.