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Flashcards in Smoke (Mats Ek) Deck (28)
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What is the formal structure of Smoke?

Theme and Variation.


List the sections of Smoke.

A1 - Searching for Answers
A2 - Denial
A3 - Bargaining
A4 - Relapse/Anger
A5 - Surrender
A6 - Redirecting Hope


Describe the movement vocabulary of Section 1 (Searching for Answers).

-yearning movements
-reaching gestures
-long duration
-large dimension


Describe the movement vocabulary of Section 2 (Denial).

-strong force
-interactive with body and stage
-as if trying to distract herself


Describe the movement vocabulary of Section 3 (Bargaining).

-grooming and cleaning gestures
-soft force
-slow timing
-choreographic device of abstraction is prevalent


Describe the movement vocabulary of Section 4 (Relapse/Anger).

-large dimension
-fast speed
-strong force


Describe the movement vocabulary of Section 5 (Surrender).

-low level
-curved shapes
-long duration
-collapsing qualities of movement


Describe the movement vocabulary of Section 6 (Redirecting Hope).

-large dimension
-free flow


What two types of transitional phrases are used in Smoke?

1. Stillness on Pauses in the Music
2. Locomotion and/or Change in Level


Stillness on pauses in the music used to transition between which sections?

-Sections 2 and 3 (second position)
-Sections 3 and 4 (scratching stomach)
-Sections 5 and 6 (back to wall)


Locomotion and/or change in level is used to transition between which sections?

-Sections 2 and 3 (rolling)
-Sections 4 and 5 (collapse to floor)
-Sections 5 and 6 (shuffle back to wall)


List the motifs used in Smoke.



Define the choreographic device of abstraction.

The process of altering or reducing the realistic appearance of the original inspiration, often everyday movements, while maintaining the essence of the idea.


Define the choreographic device of retrograde.

Where a motif or phrase is performed backwards, as if rewinding a video.


Define the choreographic device of inversion.

The process of manipulating a motif or phrase where the position of the body is reversed as the movement is performed.


List the influences on Smoke's expressive intention.

1. A strong interest in the psychology of relationships
2. Experience with German Expressionism


Explain how Ek's interest in the psychology of relationships influenced Smoke's expressive intention.

Ek had a strong interest in the inner workings of a relationship. He didn't want to recreate fairytale romances, he wanted to show the uglier side of relationships and was intrigued by the realistic emotions endured through a relationship. This influenced Ek to create the expressive intention of Smoke's female solo around realistic grief following the destruction of a relationship. Ek drew on the seven stages of grief, dark and ugly imagery, and forwent a happy ending to show this realism.


Explain how Ek's experience with German Expressionism influenced Smoke's expressive intention.

Ek's mother was strongly influenced by German Expressionists like Kurt Joss. In dance, German Expressionism aims to make people conscious of their inner impulses and teach them to express those impulses. Its goal is to create dances that arise from human urges and are directed by emotion, without the need for refined technique. In German Expressionism, there are no 'bad' or 'ugly' movements, as long as they convey emotion. Previous experience with this style influenced Ek to create Smoke's expressive intention around the conveyance of the realistic human emotions of grief, regret and shame, driving the dance through raw emotion as opposed to technical movement. In line with the style, Smoke's expressive intention and raw emotion is conveyed through her facial expressions and body language, showcasing the idea of surrendering to emotional impulses.


Explain how the seven stages of grief influenced Smoke's form.

Ek wanted to show the uglier, psychological side of relationships, and hence in the creation of Smoke he was drawn to the theory of the seven stages of grief. This theory poses that when grieving, people progress through seven stages: searching for answers, denial, bargaining, relapse, anger, surrender, and finally redirecting hope. This impacted Ek to structure Smoke around these stages. Smoke's formal structure is Theme and Variation and each section explores a different stage of grief as a variation on the overall themes of grief, regret and shame. The movements are thematically related in each section based on these stages, such as the reaching gestures with long duration in section 1 to convey the stage of searching for answers, and the abrupt, strong forced poking of the face in section 2 to highlight a sense of denial and trying to distract oneself from loss.


Explain how the music influenced Smoke's form.

Smoke's music was composed by Arvo Part and influenced the form of Smoke by supporting the variations of emotional intensity across the dance's sections. When the music is at its most intense and loud, that is where Ek placed his most intense sections, relapse/anger (Section 4) and redirecting hope (Section 6). To match the intensity of music, Ek chose movements of fast speed, strong force and frequent elevations. The music also influenced the differentiation of the sections as pauses in the music often indicate a change in section, such as between sections 2 and 3 when the music pauses slightly and the dancer sits in stillness in second position.


What is the expressive intention of Smoke?

To convey the regret and shame a woman feels in her grief over losing her beloved partner. It explores the seven stages of grief: searching for answers, denial, bargaining, relapse/anger, surrender and redirecting hope.


List the influences on Smoke's movement vocabulary.

1. Training in Theatre
2. Training in Classical Ballet


List the influences on Smoke's form.

1. The Seven Stages of Grief
2. Music


List the influences on Smoke's production aspects.

1. Technology of the 1990s
2. Desire to Portray Realism


Explain how Ek's training in theatre influenced Smoke's movement vocabulary.

Ek's mother wanted all her children to be dancers so Ek was enrolled in a ballet school at an early age. Inspired his famous actor father, he rebelled and went into theatre, yet after being in West Side Story and watching the dancers, he switched back to dance. This influenced Ek to break classical technique in exchange for more literal, theatrical movement in order to express emotion. This is evident in Smoke where the dancer incorporates realistic facial expressions and pedestrian movements. (EG: Section 1, rocking holding face in shock)


Explain how Ek's training in classical ballet influenced Smoke's movement vocabulary.

In 1972, Ek joined the Culburg Ballet because his mother was one of its founders. He reworked Swan Lake and Giselle from fairytales into realistic depictions of today's culture. Ek’s style immediately became distinct for his creative and imaginative interpretations of narratives, which totally deconstructed ballet repetoire and bridged classical and contemporary techniques. This sense of ballet technique intertwined with contemporary technique to convey real ideas in today's culture is evident throughout Smoke's movement vocabulary, which includes contractions, yearning arabesques, attitude turns, grand jetes and pointed feet. (EG: sitting in 2nd, vibratory hands; pose turn in retire but holding foot hunched over)


Explain how the technology of the 1990s influenced Smoke's production aspects.

In the 1990s, filmmakers began to experiment with special effects and editing in post-production. This influenced Ek to use quick cuts and rewinding movement through camera angles amongst Smoke's production aspects. This is particularly evident when the dancer removes her dress and then the video rewinds to place the dress back upon her body. Digital imagery also became more common in the 1990s, which influenced Ek to use a static effect on a black box combined with post-production rain sound effects to imitate rain.


Explain how Ek's desire to portray realism influenced Smoke's production aspects.

Ek's experience with German Expressionism encouraged him to create performances that literally conveyed realistic emotions. This is seen in Smoke's costumes. The dancer wears a plain blue/purple dress, non-dance shoes, a bare face and a simple braid. Her appearance is everyday and helps add realism. The props of the table and the letter are also realistic, everyday items. Even the natural lighting and bare black stage are devoid of the flashy and theatrical. Ek employed these lifelike production aspects so that audience could easily relate to the emotions expressed in his piece.