Strange Humors choreography

Last year, I wrote a band piece called “Strange Humors,” a mid-level ditty that features the African hand drum, the djembe. That piece is a transcription of a piece originally for string quartet and djembe. The audio of that original version has been here on the site for ages. The original, you may or may not know, was composed for dance, back when I was living in New York (in 1998!). The choreographer, my frequent collaborator, Robert Battle, (Mass, Damn, Rush Hour, Breakdown Tango – the precursor to Redline Tango, Juba, Irish Ghetto, etc.) did an incredible job with the score — one of our first collaborations. Now, for the first time, I’m posting the video of his choreography, so you can see “Strange Humors” the way it was originally intended. There’s some funky lighting in a few places, but you’ll definitely get the idea.

Note that the music and choreography are both copyrighted. If you want to perform this choreography, you have to license it from Robert Battle. If you don’t, he’ll sue your ass (with a smile). Same goes for the music, although from me, you don’t get the smile.

Strange Humors (1998)
Music by John Mackey
Choreography by Robert Battle
Dancers: Samuel Roberts and George Smallwood
Performed at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

In a few days, I’ll post the video of “Rush Hour.” It is bad-ass.


Cathy says

Wow! I love how the choreography is so accurate in depicting the emotions in the music. I can really see all the angst and friction as well as its release in the movements. Also, I love how the dancers have so much intensity and forward motion in their movements, even when they're in a stationary position in some sections. That would have been so cool to see live!

In my true form, I'll watch this several times over...sometimes without sound, I'm sure. I can already tell you can hear the music in the choreography. I'm fascinated!

Courtney says

Definitely very cool. Thanks for sharing!

Jason Rinehart says

Yo John! Very cool video. Such interaction with your music and the dancers. Great combo. I just got a new job! I'm the Asst. Director of Bands at the University of Louisiana at Monroe now. Looking forward to starting my first year here in the fall! I'm sure I'll do at least one of your pieces this year! ;-)

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