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60x60=one frenetic hour of performance

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Music, dance and theatre students to stage a fast-paced hour of minute-long works.

by Liz Crompton

300510_60x60_Congress_300dpi_16-thumb-300x200-5428.jpgSixty musical works, 60 seconds or less, played in succession for a total of 60 minutes, with a giant clock keeping count.

That's 60x60, an event concept that's spread across the world in the decade since it was created to showcase a maximum amount of new music to the largest possible audience. Initially featuring music only, the format lends itself to collaborations with artists from other disciplines such as video and dance, each work of which also lasts 60 seconds.

On January 16, Concordia's departments of Music, Theatre  and Contemporary Dance will be joining forces at the D.B. Clarke Theatre to present 60x60 +Dance +Theatre 2013.

"It's a multi-sensory production/performance," says Eldad Tsabary, a lecturer in the music department and former Canadian director of 60x60 who brought the event to Concordia.

"The opportunity to work with artists of other media is very inspiring," he says. "It's interesting to see dance and electroacoustic students discussing and using the same terms - such as 'texture' - but meaning different things. This process expands their concepts of creativity."

A dozen of the 60 juried compositions in the January show are by Concordia students, while the rest are from composers across Canada. The works were arranged into a macro-composition exactly one hour long and then uploaded, in sequence, to a private webpage. The participating dance and theatre students chose the pieces they wanted to interpret by visiting the page to listen to the music and read the brief descriptions of the composers and the works.

"It's a bit like online dating," says Silvy Panet-Raymond, acting chair of the Department of Contemporary Dance. She's made the event part of the curriculum for the third-year choreography class, while it's optional for those in second year.

Erin Hill is one of the almost three dozen dance students who'll be involved. "I think it's great, especially because of the constraints: the more precise the rules, the more creative you can be, because you can't question - as in, doubt - the time or the music."

Several 60x60 events have been held at Concordia since 2008, including the Canadian debut in 2009 of 60x60 Dance, for which dance students choreographed works to accompany each composition. For the first time at Concordia, theatre students will also take part. They can use their voices as long as it serves the music, not compete with it.

"I took into consideration the level of difficulty and how directing a small group of performers could be easily done. Then I applied my specialization in clown and worked off visuals," says student Kendall Savage of her approach, which resulted in her creation of three separate 60-second performances that could be inserted into any piece of music.

Hill appreciates the rare opportunity to collaborate with her fellow students in music and theatre. "It's such an important thing for people in different disciplines to come together," she says. "It stimulates creativity and community - and it's so much fun." 

What: 60x60 +Dance +Theatre 2013
When: January 16, 2013, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Where: D.B. Clarke Theatre, Hall Building (H-0050), 1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W., Sir George Williams campus

Free of charge. Everyone welcome.
Related links:

Photo of a 60x60 event at Concordia University by Patryk Stasieczek.


Concordia University