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Four Fables: A Chamber Ensemble Dance Collaboration

Robert Plane and the Gould Piano Trio are delighted to present an innovative new proposal featuring Huw Watkins’s ‘Four Fables’ in collaboration with Bharatanatyam dancer Mayuri Boonham.

‘Four Fables’ was first commissioned in 2018 by Rob and the Goulds to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Corbridge Chamber Music Festival, of which they are Artistic Directors, with co-commissioners Wigmore Hall, Swansea International Festival and the Three Choirs Festival. Since premiering ‘Four Fables’ at the 2018 Three Choirs Festival, they have already given over twenty-five performances, from the Wigmore Hall and a US premiere in Portland, Oregon, at the distinguished Friends of Chamber Music series, to Festivals and music societies throughout the UK.

It is a wonderful work, beautifully crafted, exquisite textures, touching harmonies and gloriously individual. We’re thrilled to have been able to perform it so widely.
— Robert Plane

This new dance-based collaboration was born from the realisation that Huw’s fantastical work was a true aural embodiment of movement and motion. They have found the perfect partner in Mayuri Boonham, an experienced South Asian choreographer and Bharatanatyam dancer, whose work has been at the forefront of South Asian dance in the UK for many years. Their collaborative performance, first given at the Lake District Summer Music Festival 2021, brings the physicality of the music to the forefront of the interpretation, offering an extraordinary opportunity to “See the Music” and “Hear the Dance”.

When I first heard Watkins’ Four Fables it struck me how beautifully the score lends itself to dance … Although we’ve come together for the first time, it feels like we have worked together for years. Surely a sign, I believe, of a wonderful, natural creative partnership between such different disciplines.
— Mayuri Boonham

As the title might suggest, I wrote my ‘Four Fables’ not as abstract music, but as music with a story somewhere inside it, more concealed than explicit, but a story nonetheless. The ambiguity, the idea of hinting at something rather than saying it out loud seems to me a perfect background for a dancer to add to, to enhance, to add an extra layer of meaning, in their own distinctive way.’
— Huw Watkins

Mayuri, Rob and the Goulds see this project as a vehicle to bring new audiences to both contemporary classical music and to innovative dance, overlapping the boundaries of both disciplines. Mayuri’s training and vast experience in the realm of Bharatanatyam also gives them the opportunity to present workshops, ‘Dancing Hands’, blending music and this fascinating world of Indian hand-gesture storytelling to school children, alongside concert performances.

Click here to read the full proposal.

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