Jetés with Reich

Choreographer Sara Accettura explains how she overcame the challenge of working with the music of heavyweight composer Steve Reich



“Reich’s music is a total challenge,” admits Sara Accettura, who has choreographed Moveo’s piece that forms part of the Music and Dance Project to American composer Steve Reich’s Triple Quartet. Reich is known for his minimal music, marked by its use of repetitive figures, slow harmonic rhythm and canons. The heavyweight composer has been described by Guardian critic Andrew Clements as being one of "a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history".


For this reason, Accettura initially felt a big responsibility towards these very complex pieces of music. “Triple Quartetis dissonant, unpredictable, and at points overwhelming,” she notes. But once Accettura decided to let it guide her, “gradually the complexity of the music became more and more inspiring”.


Before working with the dancers in the studio, she even tried to learn the music score, and annotated the rhythm, the time signature, and tempo of each bar. Then, once in the studio, the idea was to play with (or against) it.


The Moveo dancers in turn brought further life to the music, working “amazingly” as, to embody the music, their mental and physical commitment to the work has to stay alert from the beginning till the end, explains Accettura.


Founded by Artistic Director Dorian Mallia, the award-winning Moveo Dance Company is built on an ethos that continues to evolve around the search for the new and that which can capture an ambiguous notion in performance.


The marrying of choreographer, music and dancers couldn’t have been better and indeed the choreography has become, in Accettura’s words, “a collaborative contemporary dance language”, as the material was either created by her or by the dancers, through different choreographic approaches.


To find out more about the Music and Dance Project and Moveo performance on 7 July, click here.

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