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Musiqa and NobleMotion, known for their innovative collaborations, present Meeting of Minds – a fusion of music, dance, immersive projection design, and cutting-edge neuro-engineering on January 19 and 20 at 7:30 pm at The MATCH in midtown Houston. The evening will feature music by Anthony Brandt, Badie Khaleghian, Marcus Maroney, and Karim Al-Zand, and choreography by Andy and Dionne Noble – offering a unique blend of artistic and scientific exploration that promises to be unlike anything seen on Houston stages.
MEETING OF MINDS – Meeting of Minds is a collaborative music and dance performance that explores the neural dynamics of social interaction by tracing a relationship’s transformation from polarization to mutual understanding. The premiere features choreography by Andy and Dionne Noble and a newly composed score by Anthony Brandt that is comprised of 10 short movements for two string quartets – one pre-recorded, and the other live. Performed by Astrid Nakamura and Nanki Chugh (violins), Molly Wise (viola) and Christopher Ellis (cello), and danced by Lauren Serrano and Tyler Orcutt, Meeting of Minds integrates music, dance, neuro-engineering and artificial intelligence to explore the inner workings of the human brain. The dancers will wear EEG caps during their performances to measure electrical activity in their brains as they move in sync, perform intricate partnering, and execute complex choreography. The projection design by Badie Khaleghian will respond to the live EEG data with abstract visual representations of the brain’s plasticity. Meeting of Minds is the continuation of a pioneering partnership between Musiqa, NobleMotion, Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal and the University of Houston BRAIN Center. The first collaboration – LiveWire (January 2022) was wildly successful in Houston and reprised at the 2022 International Workshop on the Neural and Social Bases of Creative Movement at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Virginia. “A sneak peek of this research was recently presented at TEDx Talk and we are excited to premiere the full work for Houston audiences,” states Andy Noble. “Our team is employing the performing arts to better understand the creative brain in action.”
STUDY NO. 1: THE ART OF COLLABORATION – Study No. 1: The Art of Collaboration melds physically daring movement by the Nobles with music and projection design by Badie Khaleghian. The creative process was influenced by the concept of neural synchrony, which refers to the way neurons in the brain fire together in patterns. Immersed in a world of networks and webs, a group of six dancers (Wesley Cordova, LaRodney Freeman, Tyler Orcutt, Jacob Regan, Lauren Serrano, and Angelica Villa), build a community of healthy co-existence. The music blends synthesized and recorded sounds, merging musique concrète with the latest new-age beats sourced from social media reels.
CABINET OF CURIOSITIES – Composed by Musiqa Artistic Board member Karim Al-Zand, Cabinet of Curiosities is a diverse collection of six short works for clarinet and piano, each with a peculiar and idiosyncratic character. Named for the elaborate cupboard used as a repository of diverse and exotic objects, the assembly of which was a popular pastime for the affluent European of the 16th and 17th centuries, Al Zand’s Cabinet of Curiosities was originally written for a consortium of twenty clarinetists in 2009. Our performance features the Harlequin Duo – Nicholas Davies (clarinet) and Wesley Ducote (piano).
THE TELLING – The Telling, the final collaborative music/dance work of the evening captures the moment right before a challenging confession. An ensemble of dancers falls, twists, and flails through the space, “stumbling over their thoughts” in anxiety as the truth is released. The energetic music score is composed by Marcus Karl Maroney and performed by musicians Nakamura, Chugh, Wise, and Ellis. “It’s mostly about the nervousness and hesitation about being vulnerable. For me, the work doesn’t ‘say’ what the aftermath of the telling is… it is about the energy immediately before or during,” states Maroney. Featured NobleMotion dancers include Wesley Cordova, Rachel Culver, LaRodney Freeman, Sheena Kapila, Tyler Orcutt, Jacob Regan, Lauren Serrano, and Angelica Villa.
Meeting of Minds is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance and Texas Commission on the Arts. This project is also generously funded by Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.