When Time Stops


From award-winning Australian choreographer Natalie Weir (where the heart is, R&J) comes When Time Stops – an ethereal voyage of life-changing moments.
The moment a single decision hurtles you into unknown territory…
The moment the water rises…
The moment you choose to stay or go…
The moment that stops time…
This signature work from Expressions Dance Company opens the floodgates on those achingly personal yet intensely dramatic life-defining events: new life, loss, love and longing.
How we deal with these moments determines who we are, who we become, and what we hold dear. Do we sink or swim?

IG’s Programme Note :
What do people hear when they die? We know that people who have survived Near Death Experiences often tell of ‘music that they have never heard before’. Often this music comes with labels like ‘sublimely beautiful’, ‘transcendent’ and ‘luminescent’ – undoubtably a beautiful series of adjectives with which to start composing, if a little daunting in the expectations they set up when faced with a blank piece of manuscript.

‘When Time Stops’ is, of course, not only about death, it is also intrinsically about life and the moments within it where one’s normal sense of ‘the moment’ is stretched. A first kiss, an accident avoided, a relationship ended. It is in these eternities between one second and the next that Natalie has found such richly expressive dance for me to compose to.

Whilst the score, due to the subject matter, is innately more heart than head, there are myriad compositional techniques utilized in an attempt to keep the musical argument intruiging. There are elements of serialism, minimalism, polytonality and, not unimportantly, direct and alluded quotations from Mahler and Schubert’s String Quartet no.14 ‘Death and the Maiden’.

This project would be nothing without the extraordinary commitment from Brendan Joyce and the musicians of the Camerata of St John’s. The act of memorizing large swathes of new music is a huge undertaking, and I can’t thank them enough for not only this commitment, but also their beautiful musicality and thrilling virtuosity. They’ve been a delight to work with.

I also thank the delightful Natalie Weir for her deep humanity, understanding and collaborative generosity, and thank her dancers for their consummate skill and unwavering energy.

Finally, to all the team at Expressions Dance Company, lead by the wonderful Libby Lincoln – thankyou for finding innumerable ways of saying yes to my requests – it’s rare, and I can’t thank you enough.

Creative Team:
Choreography and concept by Natalie Weir
New composition by Iain Grandage
Design and concept by Bill Haycock
Lighting by David Walters
Music performed by Camerata of St John’s
Music Director : Brendan Joyce

Dancers :
Michelle Barnett,
Daryl Brandwood,
Benjamin Chapman,
Thomas Gundry Greenfield,
Elise May,
Riannon McLean,
Samantha Mitchell
Jack Ziesing

Reviews :

“The greatest triumph of this new work is Iain Grandage’s music, a 70 minute composition for strings played impeccably by the Camerata of St John’s.” Stage Whispers

“The music, all strings, is played live on stage rather than in the pit; it works brilliantly, making the work feel seamless: the action and the music of life inexorably intertwined. Grandage’s score is emotional and exciting, and when all the dancers and musicians are on stage at once – it’s not a huge stage – it is an exhilarating experience.” The Guardian

“Iain Grandage’s brand new score of multiple influences; minimalism, fragments of scratchy eerie cries in the vein of Peter Sculpthorpe, trembling electronica with a prominent expanding and diminishing pulse, a nod to Mahler and a luminous reprise of Schubert’s ultimate death theme from ‘Death In The Maiden’, is a shiny vehicle for Weir’s excavation into physical decline, the recall of defining moments, grief and death through mostly abstract snapshots but with trailing narrative threads.

Richly imagined, this production deploys an expressive force of the highly skilled. The sterling touches are many, from the presence of Brendan Joyce (violinist) and Camerata of St John’s players dealing in visceral vibrato on stage and communicating direct with the dancers through their weaponry of stringed instruments.” Gillian Wills, Arts Hub September 10, 2013


When Time Stops

Contemporary Dance Work