Dance among the Water Lilies: Gabriel Schenker

Pulse Constellations
Choreography and Performance: Gabriel Schenker

2016 Creation

“... a being racing into the future passes a being racing into the past, two footprints perpetually obliterating one another, toe to heel, heel to toe.” (Yeats, A Vision)

Pulse Constellations by choreographer and dancer Gabriel Schenker draws on the 1978 electronic opus Pulse Music III by American composer John McGuire: a complex, multi-layered work made up of repetitions that was born of an aural image of movements in space. This composition by a man who was notably a student of Karlheinz Stockhausen in Darmstadt, Germany, combines a variety of pulses, tempos and melodies to form a sequence of twenty-four distinct but interdependent sections that mingle unexpectedly and sharply. The quality of the sounds, the fullness of the oeuvre and the piece’s constant, unsettling movement in space gives the work a stellar, cosmic dimension. Gabriel Schenker has chosen to dissect the composition’s complex structures that emerge from an acoustic image of movement in the opus to rearrange them, deconstructing and reconstructing this hallucinatory work’s network of layered impulses.

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Gabrile Schenker, Pulse Constellations © Photo Bart Grietens

Exploring, on the one hand, the limits between mathematics and nature, and, on the other hand, the digital precision of electronic music and the analogue imprecision of dance, Gabriel Schenker also looks into the boundaries between the danceable and the audible. The American uses an organisational method mainly based on duration, specific to minimalism, the trend which, in the US from the mid-1960s, was at the heart of conceptual practice and which foregrounded perception in artistic experiments. He also likes to quote excerpts from the poet Yeats to introduce his solo. Pulse Constellations follows on the heels of Pulse Musique III while chopping it up into smaller pieces, keeping to its flow and adding melodic, rhythmic lines in the shared space of sounds and sights. In this way, he reveals a kaleidoscope of rhythms and coordination that run through his body in superimposed tempos verging on trance.

Gabriel Schenker was born in Washington D.C. He grew up in Rio de Janeiro and has lived in Brussels for eleven years. Following studies at PARTS (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios), the school founded by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, he co-founded the cooperative Busy Rocks, through which he created works such as Dominos and Butterflies and Throwing Rocks. As a dancer and performer, Gabriel Schenker has worked with Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker/Rosas, Thomas Hauert/ZOO, Eleanor Bauer, Robin Jonsson, Doris Stelzer and Alexandra Bachzetsis.
After receiving a master’s degree in philosophy at the European Graduate School, he published some writings (A Dialogue between Deleuze and Guattari, the Life Sciences, and Catherine Malabou), an activity he pursued in parallel to his artistic explorations Moving~Thinking. In 2016, he revealed his first work, Pulse Constellations, a solo based on the electronic opus Pulse Music III composed by John McGuire.
In addition to his artistic and philosophical work, Gabriel Schneker is involved in several teaching projects. He is a certified professor of Pilates, a professor of dance and an assistant to Thomas Hauert in the new bachelor course in contemporary dance at The Manufacture in Lausanne, and he is also developing the Research Studios project in the PARTS school.