Mousike: Improv, Comedy and Dance
Mousike is a word used by the Ancient Greeks to mean music, drama, and dance. There was no specific term for each of the art forms as we do today; but back then, Mousike could mean just music, or music and drama, or all together. When I ran across this word as a student studying music history, I felt I found myself. All my life, I approached music as a mousike-artist where I could not separate (in my mind’s eye) the physical gestures/movements or dramatic/theatrical expression from the music I performed. Often when I am playing a piece of music, I would see a choreography in my mind; I finally decided to make this vision come true when I co-created a choreography (with Kelli Edwards- fantastic choreographer and dancer in the performance) for the first movement of the Haydn sonata.
Here it is in a performance in Jordan hall in this vaudeville style choreography which brought out the wit and humor of Haydn.
And it was only natural, in the same concert, that I brought together the union of music and dance, when I decided to end my show with swing dancing which went along with the Jazz I played with my sextet (and it was only more fun to do this as it was also a surprise for the audience as they did not expect me to jump up from my seat at the piano to begin dancing- and later to have the planted flash mob swing dancers in the audience to come up on stage. . . what a sight!!)
Ever since then, I have incorporated more and more this union of music/dance/drama (mousike) in performances and have been enjoying the integration of all of my expressive-connected self.