University of Pittsburgh

ACIE Award 2011

Collaboration in Music and Dance

Insert Name

Amy Williams

208 Music Building

Watch the above video to learn more about Williams' project.

Amy Williams, Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory in the Department of Music, wanted her graduate music students to collaborate with dance students to co-develop a production.  Unfortunately, the University of Pittsburgh does not have a dance program.

After attending several performances of Attack Theatre, a professional dance ensemble that collaborates with composers and musicians for each of their productions, Williams decided that her student composers could work with professional dancers. The objective of the course, first offered during the Fall 2011, was to engage the students in the study and experimentation of collaborative processes.

One goal of the collaboration was the development of a common vocabulary for analyzing and assessing each other’s works.  Learning how to communicate with their collaborators resulted in the music students thinking differently about their product.  The composers and dancers discovered the process of artistic conversation, compromise, and audience.

As the semester unfolded, the performers continually evaluated each student’s creative process, the success of the collaborations, the delivery of informed feedback, and the establishment of a shared vocabulary.  The graduate student composers and the professional dancers performed seven new pieces that were created in collaboration at the Attack Theatre studios on December 14, 2011, thereby building bridges between the University and the wider artistic community in Pittsburgh.

Final Report

Performance Program

Teaching Times Article