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Saturday, May 18
The Indiana Daily Student


‘Hammer and Nail’ showcases talent

Students perform "A Strange Peace" Saturday evening at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Composed by graduate student Jonathan Sokol and choreographed by junior Utam Moses, the piece was one of fourteen original student works in the "Hammer and Nail" performance.

“Hammer and Nail,” performed this weekend at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, was not just a concert of new music written and played by musicians from the Jacobs School of Music, nor was it simply a display of virtuosic dance choreographed by students in the IU Contemporary Dance Program.

“Hammer and Nail” was both: a unity of artistic talent and technical precision and a marriage of music and dance.

Its fourth year as a collaboration between the Student Composers Association and the
IU Contemporary Dance Program, the show’s aim is to create and perform new works of art and to get students working outside their departments.

“It’s a rich interaction for both the choreographer and the composer to go through the process of collaboration,” said Selene Carter, visiting guest lecturer in the Contemporary Dance Program. “The forms are different, but are quite linked.”

Four performances Saturday and Sunday comprised 14 works, each one featuring a different combination of instruments and dancers. “A Strange Peace” brought four dancers on stage, accompanied by soprano, viola, cello, percussion and piano.

“Complex Variables” had four dancers and one marimba player. “TRIbal Fury” featured seven dancers with trumpet, horn, trombone and percussion.

The performance was the product of months of work that began last fall. Composers met choreographers to discuss general ideas in October, and then the Student
Composers Association matched up pairs of two. Composers wrote and recorded their pieces by February, choreographers held auditions and created the dance and musicians rehearsed together. Finally, audiences crowded the theater and applauded for each work of art this weekend.

“We take these two different schools in IU and put them together and show the audience we’re capable of doing this collaboration on a very high level,” said association officer David Werfelmann. “We’re conveying what’s on our mind.”

For junior Utam Moses and graduate student Jonathan Sokol, that meant a piece about melancholy hope based on a poem by Gunnar Ekelof. “A Strange Peace” speaks of trauma, absence, longing and how one’s feeling of the world can begin to change, Moses said.

Sokol’s music conveys that mood with what he called a “stagnant, still ambiance” with a “singable, childlike melody.” The music gave Moses space to create a dance that reinforced the mood.

“The music kind of hangs like a fog, a tangible pressure to move within,” Moses said.
“It can be still but also incredibly detailed at the same time.”
This kind of collaboration takes trust, Moses and Sokol agreed, and the audience was delighted with the outcome.

“I thought they were amazing,” said Lisa Paul, whose daughter Joanna choreographed a piece. “My daughter had a great experience with her composer. She was thrilled with the creating process. It was awesome to see all the hard work.”

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