Music for Class: Zoe Scofield

Posted on May 31, 2013 by

Music for modern and contemporary choreography

Zoe Scofield

Zoe Scofield

After training at Walnut Hill School for the Arts and working with several modern dance choreographers, Zoe Scofield called it quits. “I had so much Balanchine training in my body, but I didn’t feel like a ballet dancer anymore. And on the other hand, I couldn’t find a modern dance style that felt right,” she says. Soon after, at an arts festival in Seattle, she met Juniper Shuey, who convinced her to venture back into the field as a choreographer. “It sounds cheesy, but we saw each other across the room and it was like, click,” says Scofield.

Today, the husband-and-wife team creates modern dance works choreographed by Scofield, with visual installations by both. Their seven-year collaboration zoe/juniper has been fruitful—they’ve toured nationally, and Seattle’s On the Boards will produce their work next spring. But Scofield admits that there were initial difficulties when working with her spouse. “Separating the personal from the artistic is very intense,” says Scofield. “I had to learn that when he doesn’t agree with an idea, it’s not a criticism of who I am personally. And because the work is very emotionally and mentally involved, that’s very difficult to do.” The positives? “We know each other so well and constantly inspire one another. We have solidified a commitment to each other’s artistic lives.” DT

 

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Artist: The Blood Brothers
Album: Crimes

“Morgan Henderson, who was in The Blood Brothers, writes a lot of our music. I like his layering of different textures and ideas. And he changes them up a lot. You have a good idea of what’s going to happen, and then he flips it, which is an interesting way to think about choreographing, too.”

 

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Artist: PJ Harvey
Album: White Chalk

“I love music with complex rhythms and arrangements, because my choreography always has its own internal musicality. She makes it fun to play with timing. There’s also a primal quality to her work that I’m really drawn to.”

 

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Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Album: Glenn Gould Plays Bach: The Goldberg Variations

“The sparseness in this is so rare—there’s so much room inside of the piece. It kind of creates its own world that the listener can live in, and I think that’s why it has survived for so long.”

 
 

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Artist: Greg Haines
Piece: “Marc’s Descent”

“This sounds so epic, and there’s such a swelling and welling in it that moves me. He pushes the idea of how long you can allow music or dance to build, which is something I’m working on in my choreography.”

 
 

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Artist: Die Antwoord
Album: $O$

“This is a South African band. They’re very raw and a little odd, which I like. A lot of their songs have a strong underlying tempo that I can play on top of to make my own intricate timing.”

 
 

Photo by Juniper Shuey, courtesy of Zoe Scofield

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