This essay will
study two arts, dance and architecture. It will do this to get a further
understanding of how these two arts are related and how they can benefit each
other. This study will dissect the main structural elements of both arts and
understand why they’re so crucial to the performance. This will show a deeper
understanding of both arts which will direct a stronger appreciation with the
mind and not only the eyes. This essay will analyse both arts through a series
of images which will be manipulated to get a further understanding of the
elements discussed. Furthermore, the outcome of studying both arts is to
demonstrate how dance and architecture are related, how they affect each
other’s performance and also if it has been done effectively.
While it seems
dance and architecture are not in the same category besides being art related,
they do share many components. It is difficult to understand the relationship
they hold, as one is free-flowing and the other is stationary. Their sculptural
understanding allows them to create art which speaks without words. Their
knowledge of space creates a poetic visual representation which relates to a
person subconsciously. Architecture may be still, however, through the
manipulation of space, an architect creates a route that a person moves
through. The public becomes the dancer in a stationary space. Whereas, dance is
the movement were the audience becoming the stationary form.
As it is
questionable when a movement becomes a dance. A choreography of a dance needs
to differentiate between an ordinary movement and the unnatural structure of a
dance routine. The structure of a body can amplify a story that is told. Figure
1 shows an ordinary movement of walking, which does not show defined shapes.
Moreover, this movement has a lack of character and does not tell a story or
portray any emotion. This does not give the sense of excitement, which a
choreographer thrives to create. In figure 2, a dancer’s structure is shown.
The curve from the torso continues up through her arms, all the way to the tip
of the fingers. Held up by her column like legs, her structurally firm posture
all supported by the tip of her toes. Her dress amplifies her body also flowing
with her movement.
a body is not always noticed, a ballerina makes a movement, such as the one
shown in figure 2, look effortless. Breaking down a dance routine is not simple
as a dancer moves around a room. Mentally capturing the movements made, allows
you to fully understand the elements which have been applied to create the
pose. For a choreographer to understand a bodies pieces are very important. The
correct structural movement and positioning of a body can speak to an audience.
Figure 3 shows a ballerina doing a second arabesque. Whilst her structure is
elegantly positioned, the image has been manipulated to understand the
relationship between the dancer and the audience. As mentioned before a
ballerina’s form is not always appreciated. She has not only structured her
whole body in different geometrical forms but she also put as much effort into
her hands. A choreographer knows how important it is to make sure every body
part is incorporated as this can affect the whole mood. Her positioning towards
the audience, arm drawn-out to the elegant finish of her fingers, attracts the
audience. It is a memorising experience for the viewer. Connecting with the
audience creates a very personal element that not many arts can portray.
Music is a
manipulative tool, and understanding music is very beneficial to a performing
art composer. Music is heavily related to a person’s mind and can stimulate
emotions such as happiness by using major keys and sorrow by using minor keys.
Major and minor keys are fundamental to understand in music, alongside with
spacing of notes and importantly, silence. To create an upbeat song there will
be a high use of major keys as they are uplifting and joyful and the opposite
with minor keys. There are different ways a choreographer will respect musical
structure. To dance to a beat, you do not have to follow all the notes. A
dancer will dissect a song into categories which will lead on to telling a
choreography of Ludmila Pagliero, dancing to a piece of classical music by
Ludwig Minkus, shows us a link between timing, musical structure and dance. In
figure 1, a gentle harp plays as Pagliero gently swans around the stage from
her first position. She changes her position from a dominant stand, to a very
loose form as the music transitions between a hard note to a delicate run of
strings, back to a hard note. finalising it with a dominant stand.
In figure 2 she
is located mainly in one area. This is roughly a 2 second clip
(0.43-0.45seconds) showing every major stop Pagliero makes, mainly focusing on
her leg motion. She mirrors her dance to be timed exactly with every dominant
major key from Minkus.
Emotion is also
a very powerful tool when composing a choreography, being able to provoke an
audience to give a reaction is challenging. A choreographer aims to change a
mood through movement, it is a fundamental aspect of performing. In order to
achieve an emotional response from an audience. As important as the body is,
spatial awareness also plays a large role when composing dance. Spatial
awareness adds to a story. A dancer being on the ground portrays sorrow,
standing up right is a neutral position and leaping into the air shows joy.
Using these different spatial forms are a way of manipulating an audience to
sense what the choreographer wants you to feel.
be architecture, from a teaspoon to a city” 1
similar to the
dance where it is questioned when a movement becomes dance, when does a form
become architecture? It is seen that when dance has a strong foundation of
information added to a choreography, the performance can become more desirable.
Architecture has the same concept, with a stronger foundation of work to
support the design, the ‘sculpture’ whether it be a door handle or a mansion
becomes more desirable. Many people have tried to make architecture personal
and even invent new modules to make its conceptual foundation stronger.
Examples of this is the golden rectangle. Humans have a strong connection with
the ‘Golden’ formula, whether it is the Golden Ratio, Golden Spiral, Golden
Sequence and many other formulas.
The Golden formula is the geometry found in
nature. Its spiral could be found in shapes as small as a snail’s shell to
parts of the formation of the universe. This Formula is found to be connected
to a humans subconscious.An architect incorporates the Golden formula into their design to
subconsciously manipulate the viewer. Since this discovery, there have been
other forms of how geometry and numbers relates to architecture, such as the
Vitruvian man which found a typical males proportions so well constructed that
it created the relationship between the square and the circle. Another formula
was created by le Corbusier, the Modulor Man.
Proportion is an
important aspect in an architect’s concepts. As time goes by it is known that
movements and attractions outgrow in time. In 1930 Le Corbusier created his own
proportional geometry. An architect who desired more of his designs, which lead
to a new proportional concept. He had an aspiration to design buildings which
had meaning, yet to be original and modern in his time, which is how the
Modulor Man was fathered. Similar to the Vitruvian Man he took his inspiration
from a male which he found to be desirable. From the extravagant description of
a strong, handsome, tall service man, from British novels. Corbusier
constructed his perfect geometrical male, ‘Le Modulor’ also known as ‘Modulor
The Modulor Man
was an approximate 1.83 meters. Le Corbusier used this number which he
deconstructed to find the ‘perfect’ human proportions. It created spiral forms
and rectangles. His ideal man may not look very attractive. However, he created
an elegant series of numbers which he later went on to applying to his building
concepts. A building that required his harmonies structure was La Tourette, a
space for worship. The ideal place to apply his proportions.
a new discipline, Le Corbusier went onto applying his Modulor Man to many
buildings he designed. Sainte Marie de La Tourette was also designed with his
principle. Designing a monastery became very useful to apply his own proportional
grid, to create the spatial awareness that a house of worship needed. He needed
to accommodate roughly 100 students and teachers with a church. As mentioned
above, the relationship between the Golden formula and a person has a
subconscious bond. which many related to the connection of ‘God’. Although, the
Modulor did not have the same stable foundation, the relationship between space
and God could still be applied. An approximate 80 students had to occupy the
building for 7 years, to live and study.
A monastery to
be taught about the worship of God. Le Corbusier took a hierarchy of events
that would take place in this building. The highest being the worship room, a
space where you can mentally speak to God and you can feel at one with him. And
the smallest being a space to rest. At the end of a day a student was thought
to go to his ‘cubicle’ which was his bedroom to evaluate his thoughts. The
cubicle was thought to represent the student. With this in mind, Le Corbusier
designed a space which was designed to be small yet comfortable. A room small
enough to manipulate a student to know their ‘worth’. To live in this room for
7 years subconsciously drilled the purpose of it into the student’s mind.
were designed to guide the student to find his way to ‘God’/church. Through the
manipulation of a long hallway and long slender windows which allowed light
through to lead the way.
There was a
journey through spaces which guided you to ‘speak’ and ‘feel’ God, this became
a spatially manipulated experience. A routine of waking up in a cubicle which
you reflected in as this was meant to represent the equivalent of a person.
Which led you to the long narrow hallway, compressing you, where you were
directed with a gleam of light. Enticing you, which gravitates you to finish your
journey. Transitioning from a tightened space into a transcendent room. Continued
to be manipulated by light.
The spaces were
designed to make the student feel the size of themselves and compare it to the
size of God, through the volume difference, whilst transitioning through them. It
was created so a student was ‘flowing’ from space to space being manipulated by
the tightness of space to appreciate the larger more powerful room.
La Tourette was
placed in a beautiful green space, this was to create a relationship with
nature. Moreover, similar to dance it plays around with the relationship with
the ground. Changing between heights, almost submerged into the ground. Leaping
into the air with the delicate column structure holding up the weightless like building.
The series of images shows a still movement that Le Corbusier has portrayed by
adding a different relationship with the ground.