See the Music, Hear the Dance

Under the directorship of TAPS faculty member, dancer, and choreographer Aleta Hayes, Chocolate Heads experiments with the interactions between music and movement.  As a “polydisciplinary movement band” composed of Stanford student dancers, musicians, actors, and visual artists, Chocolate Heads creates a unique performative experience which sonorizes dance and visualizes sound.  In this sense, Chocolate Heads realizes George Balanchine’s famous dictum: “See the music, hear the dance.”

The Heads are currently working under the tutelage of jazz composer, bassist, and Stanford visiting artist William Parker to prepare for their Bing Concert Hall performance on March 8, 2013.  (Parker’s The Essence of Ellington premiers the following evening).  Concerning their upcoming debut at Bing, Chocolate Heads student music director and pianist Tyler C. Brooks told the Stanford Report that “first and foremost, this is a tremendous honor; symbolically, what it means for a production so heavily co-directed by students to be the opening performance of Stanford’s new landmark concert hall is overwhelmingly empowering.  It’s a big step forward for Stanford student arts as much as it is for the Stanford arts in general.”  During rehearsals, Hayes and Parker encourage creative exchanges between musicians and dancers; music can enhance the movement in certain contexts, whereas movement drives the music in others.

Aleta Hayes

Bio: Aleta Hayes – Lecturer in the Theater and Performance Studies Department where she teaches courses on contemporary dance, African dance, dance theory, and choreography.  As a dancer, actress, and singer, she has performed in New York, London, and at the Jacob’s Pillow Festival.  Hayes currently choreographs multimedia dance works in collaboration with musicians, dancers, actors, and visual artists.  She created the movement band Chocolate Heads in 2009.

Featured image: Kimberley MacKinson performing in a 2010 Chocolate Heads production. Photograph by Jason Chuang