Distance Measures & Orbit Design
3 dancers, 3 musicians, 90 clear plastic deli containers, LED tea lights, bubble wrap
Dance: Abigail Levine
Music: Derek Bermel
Dancers: Abigail Levine, Aaron Mattocks, Storme Sundberg
Musicians: Derek Bermel (clarinet), Eric Lamb (flute), Alex Sopp (flute)
Design and Costume Consultant: daniel lang/levitsky
Performed in darkness but for moving LED candles, Distance Measures borrows formal elements from mathematical models of chaotic systems. Although not apparent or predictable, these systems are highly structured and confoundingly beautiful. Using and abstracting elements of these models creates a spatial environment that demands a particular attentiveness from the improvising performers—rather than craft their movements and relationships based on choice-making, they must find their way through a negotiation of unpredictable circumstances.
Distance Measures evolved collaboratively alongside Derek Bermel's new work Orbit Design, which will be performed live with the dance. Orbit Design is a musical algorithm for three or more players, inspired by the three-body problem in celestial mechanics. The three-body problem is the dynamic system describing the movement of three celestial bodies under Newton’s law of gravity. The movement of two bodies can be predicted for a long time with high accuracy. However, once a third body is introduced, it becomes impossible to predict their movements for an extended period.
Orbit Design was commissioned for the 2012 Look and Listen Festival with a generous gift from Augusta Gross and Leslie B. Samuels. Distance Measures is presented as part of the series Movement Research at the Judson Church.