Electro Ambient Jazz For Contemporary Dance
Musical accompaniment for the Modern Dance technique class.
A collaboration with Helen Hansen.
Geoffrey: dance training usually involves long hours of repetitive and arduous physical labour. One intention of this music is to create a sound simple enough to be easily followed, yet complex and subtle enough to sustain repeated listening. An aural garden to wander around in, each time discovering ‘new’ growth, that really was always there, unnoticed before.
Helen: The collaboration between dancer and musician, movement and music, is an ongoing dialogue. A conversation, if you will, between artists who have the potential to create and communicate an idea or mood, to cultivate something new each moment. When Geoffrey asked me to provide dance guidance for this CD I found myself drawn to the question of how to shape dance combinations to allow there to be growth from elementary movement to more complex ideas of playing with dynamics and tempo, while at the same time not dictating to Geoffrey how each phrase should be written or played. We both felt that this collection of music should be able to stand on its own and not require dance movement to explain its existence. With that said I have offered suggestions of classroom combinations that inspire me. Whether it be a warm up series of seated bounces or traveling small jumps, they all have a structure that can be modified to fit the varied ranges of dancers that exist.
"I’ve been thrilled for many years to teach with Geoffrey
making music for my classes, and his recordings capture the
creativity, variety and beauty of those alive and vivid
times. Geoffrey’s latest CD, Stretch and Breathe 2/Berlin
Dance Works is as provocative as always and gives us space
for thought and movement. The instrumentation creates
wonderful voices and moods, and the variety of rhythms is
terrific. The work he’s done with Helen Hansen with dance
in mind, provides a broad palette for formal class teaching
and for individual experimentation."
— Christine Dakin
former principal dancer and Artistic Director Laureate,
Martha Graham Dance Company
Visiting Lecturer Harvard University
teacher, Neighborhood Playhouse, NY; Universidad de Colima
and Centro Nacional de Danza Contemporanea, Mexico;
I am constantly looking for music for teaching dance classes… when I teach at MG School, Ailey School or master class, we usually have accompanists. When I took my first modern dance class( it was Graham technique class) at the Ailey school, I was blown away with taking class with live music. I was in heaven.…
Dance training is a hard repetitious training, but having good music makes completely different way to look at.
When I teach, if I have to use recorded music, I use few cds. Geoffrey Armes’s “Habibi Stretch and Breathe” is one of the most used in my class. He is one of THE BEST in NY that means one the best in the world!! I love teaching classes when he is playing for me. It makes difference. It is important for me to have a steady and clear rhythm since I teach beginners a lot. It is interesting to see when dancers start thinking about shapes or use of mascle in the body, a lot of time they forget music. Or simply ears are closed…may be? Coordination is very important. to gain it, music have to be very clear for them to hear. So I use this cd a lot.
Recently Geoffrey sent me his new cd! I am in heaven! Beacuse I have been using his Habibi Stretch and Breathe but for a long time. and now new one(s)!
I listened. Sit on the floor and play.
“Spirit Dwelling” and “Stretch and Breathe 2/Berlin Dance works”
Geoffrey’s music becomes a collaborative partner to you. With his deep understanding of the dance movement, its dynamics, complex rhythms and relationship with breath, he will take you somewhere not just a dance studio.
Great for dance classes and yoga classes. or just streching in your living space…
I am going to Japan in the end of December and will teach two places in Tokyo area, and I am very excited to use this new ones for my classes!!! Of course it will be so nice to have him with me in Japan but …
Martha Graham Dance Company
New York, NY USA
Geoffrey: I've worked -- performed/accompanied/composed -- London Contemporary Dance, CBGBs, Fred Schneider, Eurythmics, Bernie Worrell, Juilliard School, Danceworks Berlin, Martha Graham School, Merce Cunningham Studio, MIke Turtle, Veleroy Rab Spall, Frankie Knuckles, Rab Spall, NYU, Koeln Tanzforum/Sommer Akademie, Die Etage, Risiko, The Bitter End, Tokyo, Osaka, Paul Taylor, Laban Centre, Beydi Fall Senegal, Pascal Rioult, Alvin Ailey, Neighborhood Playhouse, Tom Desisto, Rambert Academy, etc etc..
Geoffrey Armes has honed a musical approach that walks a knife-edge between the singer-songwriter and ambient club or world fusion approach to music making. Improvising is an important process in Geoffrey's intuitive composing style.
The UK born multi-instrumentalist (guitars, keys, percussion), composer and singer- songwriter has built a career for himself in New York City on the back of six CD releases, a steady stream of work with Theatre and Modern Dance Companies, and a reputation as a stellar solo performer.
Early influences included Gordon Lightfoot, Celtic harpist Allan Stivell, Ravi Shankar, and Umm Kulthum. Living in multiracial Brixton as a child, with reggae on the streets, pop and art music at home, gave him a deep appreciation of the breadth of the art. He played bass in an improvising jazz/punk band whose members' credentials included the Soft Machine and Third Ear, jammed with Reebop Kwaku Baah, studied Electronic music and harmony at London's Goldsmiths College in New Cross, and assisted in building Falconer's first studio, alongside the Eurythmics.
In Holland, later Berlin, he composed and performed under the auspices of The British Council, created sound-montages for the expressionist painter Ter-Hell, wrote music for the local Contemporary Dance community, performed with 'Jazz Noise' collectives with unlikely names such as Purity of Essence, and took part in Performance Art events in NeuKolln and Ernst-Reuter Platz.
A partnership with American singer Lisa Lowell eventually brought him to New York City for the first time, performing at rock clubs such as CBGB, the Bitter End, classical venues like the Juilliard Theatre and the Merce Cunningham Westbeth studio, and site specific events such as Ruby Shang's Cooper Union Event.
Interwoven with this aesthetic journey is the arc of Geoffrey's spiritual life; how he arrives is as important as where. Without being precious he tries to do things the right way. What use is the note if it is laden with wrong action in its making?
Helen Hansen, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, studied with Judith Lee Johnson, and at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts. After attending the HARID Conservatory, she was accepted into the Juilliard School under the Early Admissions Option and received her BFA in 2001. Upon graduation she was invited to join Buglisi Dance Theater (formerly Buglisi/Foreman Dance) where she is currently a principal dancer as well as rehearsal assistant. In addition to BDT’s annual New York seasons she has performed at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Chautauqua Dance Festival, Vail International Dance Festival, and the Rishon LeZion International Festival in Israel. Ms. Hansen has also been instrumental in restaging Ms. Buglisi’s works at Marymount Manhattan College and The Alvin/Ailey Fordham B.F.A. program. Ms. Hansen appears in Lois Greenfield’s 2005 Breaking Bounds calendar and was featured in the New York Times Arts and Leisure and Dance Teacher Magazine with BDT. She was invited to perform with the Nilas Martins’ Dance Company in works by Stephen Pier and Nilas Martins, and has been in residency at White Oak with Janie Brendel and Friends working with choreographer Adam Hougland. Recently she performed in the Guggenheim’s Works/Process program with choreographers Brian Reeder and Pam Tanowitz. Ms. Hansen has been a member of the dance faculty at the Neighborhood Playhouse. Helen is also a certified Alexander Technique teacher and joined the Juilliard Dance Division faculty teaching the Alexander Technique.