Choreography by Benita Bike
Music by Dean Wallraff
Sung by Mike Stevens and Mei Zhong
Mary Troy, Rebecca Pringle and Susan Skryzcki in Songs of Change,
of Change is a 6-movement modern dance based on the ancient
Chinese Book of Changes, or Yi Jing (I Ching). The book describes 64
different life situations, and the ways in which they can change into
one another. For this dance, we picked 6 of the situations and depicted
its mood in music and dance.
text for each movement was the main text from the Yi Jing for each situation
(hexagram), and was sung in Mandarin Chinese using modern pronunciation.
An English translation for each movement is given below, followed by
a summary of the feeling of mood of the text. The music for each movement
is available for download below, in MP3 format.
Difficulty at the Beginning
Difficulty at the Beginning works supreme success.
Furthering through perseverance.
Nothing should be undertraken
It furthers one to appoint helpers.
The image of Difficulty at the Beginning.
Thus the superior man
Brings order out of confusion.
state of teeming, chaotic profusion when Heaven and Earth have been
formed and everything else is struggling to be born from them, in between
uses a scale in which the octave is divided into 8 equal parts (instead
of the normal western 12).
The Well. The town may be changed,
But the well cannot be changed.
It neither decreases nor increases.
They come and go and draw water from the well.
If one gets down almost to the water
And the rope does not go all the way,
Or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune.
over wood: the image of the well.
Thus the superior man encourages the people at their work,
And exhorts them to help one another.
of a plant bringing nourishing water up from within the earth, symbolizing
the inexhaustible dispensing of nourishment from nature or from the
wellspring of the divine within us. The well is our deepmost inner unchangeable
scale used in this movement is made up of the overtones of the bass
Grace has success.
In small matters
It is favorable to undertake something.
at the foot of the mountain:
The image of Grace.
Thus does the superior man proceed
When clearing up current aftairs.
But he dare not decide controversial issues in this way.
of simple form with no ornament: clarity within, quiet without, the
tranquil beauty of pure contemplation, the beauty of the forms existing
in the heavens, beauty of the spheres.
used here comes from dividing the octave into 5 equal parts, an approximation
of the 5-toned "pentatonic" scale used to simulate eastern
Opression. Success. Prerseverance.
The great man brings about good fortune.
When one has something to say, it is not believed.
is no water in the lake:
The image of Exhaustion.
Thus the superior man stakes his life
On following his will.
and oppression hard times: inferior people are in control and
one must bide one's time. It calls for steadfastness and character.
8/octave scale is used here that was used in the first movement.
Treading upon the tail of the tiger.
It does not bite the man. Success.
above, the lake below:
The image of Treading.
Thus the superior man discriminates between high and low,
And thereby fortifies the thinking of the people.
in dealing with a frightening or a stronger person or force one
must have balance, confidence, cheerfulness and humor, and must proceed
slowly and harmoniously. Then the stronger will acquiesce and not hurt
the weaker, because the contact is in good humor and harmless.
for this movement divides the 3:1 interval (an octave plus a fifth)
into 23 equal parts. An interesting feature of this scale is that it
doesn't contain any octaves.
Enthusiasm. It furthers one to install helpers
And to set armies marching.
comes resounding out of the earth:
The image of Enthusiasm.
Thus the ancient kings made music
In order to honor merit,
And offered it with splendor
To the Supreme Deity,
Inviting their ancestors to be present.
Thunder as a prototype for music, to rouse the masses
by being in harmony with their inner nature. It releases tensions, unites
and elevates the people, resulting in a condition of harmony and happy
contentment throughout the kingdom.
scale used in the third movement is brought back here.
1996 - 2016 by Benita Bike's DanceArt Company Inc. All rights reserved.