Lecture About Sad Music and Happy Dance

© Joeri Thiry, STUK - House for Dance, Image & Sound

Lecture About Sad Music and Happy Dance

Shila Anaraki, Matthew Shlomowitz, Aisha Orazbayeva

How can abstract music and dance elicit emotional responses from audiences? What can evolutionary biology tell us emotional reactions to art? Do the sonic qualities of sad music relate to the physical qualities of sad dance? How does the happy dance of France compare with the happy dance of Indonesia? What emotion does sadness plus surprise combine to make? Why do we want to see art that make us feel sad, and why does sad art sometimes make us happy?


Shila Anaraki is a Brussels based choreographer, dancer and dramaturg. An important part of her work has been dedicated to the contemporary music field and she has worked and collaborated with composers such as David Helbich, Matthew Shlomowitz, Paul Craenen, Stefan Prins, Alvin Curran, George Aperghis and Tod Machover. She has also had a long-term collaboration with artist Adva Zakai.

Matthew Shlomowitz is a composer of concert music and performance pieces. He has three ongoing projects: Popular Contexts, a series combining recordings of recognisable real world sound with instrumental music; Letter Pieces, which combine physical actions, music and text; and Lectures about Music, a series of lecturepieces addressing aesthetic and cultural issues. He is Associate Professor in Composition at University of Southampton.

Aisha Orazbayeva is a Kazakh-born London-based violinist. She has released two critically acclaimed solo albums on Nonclassical and PRAH recordings, and has performed in venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall. She has an ongoing music/text duo project with writer Tim Etchells (artistic director of the experimental theatre company Forced Entertainment).

STUK Atelier 2
Mon 4 Sep 2017 - Sun 24 Sep 2017.

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