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Please Control Your Impulsivity

Percussion and dance performed live!

Please Control Your Impulsivity!


Dancers: 6 – original cast:  Andrew Taft, Cyrus Bridwell, Shane Horan, Elizabeth Barreto, Elizabeth Keller, Phyllis Affrunti

Musicians: 3 Percussionists: Nic Gili, Nathan Powell, Cyrus Bridwell

                  2 Pianists: Elizabeth Barreto, Nathan Powell

Music by: Nathan Powell, Nic Gili, Elizabeth Barreto and the dancers

Costumes: Sherrol Simard

Length: 10:00

Created for: Ballet Idaho’s NewDance, Up Close

Premiere: March 16, 2016 at the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy, Boise, ID


When I was in high school there was a poster on the wall by the door of one of my classrooms that said “Please Control Your Impulsivity.” I spent hours looking at that sign, firstly trying to decide whether impulsivity was a word, and secondly trying to understand why impulsivity is such a thing to suppress. I believe that being impulsive is a viable outlet to creativity and I’m glad that I never heeded the suggestion of that poster. This piece was borne out of an impulse driven by the fact that the stereo equipment at Ballet Idaho was consistently not working correctly, and thus I decided to do away with using it at all. I decided that I could make a great piece without recorded music. To achieve this I gathered all the percussion instruments I could find (drumset, cajons, Bookwhackers) and a piano and set to making a piece and the music from scratch. I enlisted a dancer drummer to play most of the music, but was delighted partway through rehearsal to find that one of my dancers is a fine pianist. I enlisted her help and she went directly from the stage to the piano and back! The music for the very opening sequence was actually performed by dancer/drummers that were underneath the risers where the audience sits. I brought two drums and two cymbals under the risers and had the drummers crawl underneath at half hour call. Please Control Your Impulsivity was the second piece on the program that night so the drummers had to wait almost an hour for their audio cue to start playing. The drums were situated apart from each other under house left and right to create a stereo sound. Upon completion of that section one dancer crawled out directly onstage and the other to the drum set. One other technical musical component to this piece was the use of Boomwhackers which are tuned plastic tubes that play a note when “whacked.” I used these tubes to allow the dancers themselves to create the music. A pleasing waltz using nine different tubes, all being played by dancers while moving onstage. Let me say that I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my dancers for being so welcoming to some new and exciting movement.

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