Finding Synesthesia

“When different senses merge, they create unexpected connections. The experience of a tap dancer is that of a synesthete, continually traveling through the intersecting heartbeats of music and dance.”

In 2007 the London Jazz Festival commissioned tap dancer/choreographer Heather Cornell to create a new work. She asked me to collaborate with her to equally explore the evolution of tap dance and jazz. During a residency at The Banff Centre, we created Finding Synesthesia, a work that combined music and tap while exploring musical textures from around the globe. Tap functioned as the main percussion instrument, augmenting an ensemble of piano, voice and cello. In addition to choreography, the visual experience in Finding Synesthesia featured projections by London-based video artist Rebecca Birch. Her slow moving images evoked the visual aspects of the music, similar to how the tap dance conveys the musical attributes of dance. Both intersections served as a reminder of the tap dancer’s innate affinity for Synesthesia.