Movement to Music: Melodies for Neck Bites

When the curtain opens this weekend on Fort Wayne Ballet’s production of Dracula, it will do so to the creepy plunks of a… broken piano? And the lullabyesque melody it plays pokes at you like the thorns of a nightmare dreamscape. Layered onto a scene of villagers warning a stranger not to go to the mysterious castle, it seems that the laws of neither nature nor music want much to do with our pointy-fanged count.  The instrument in question, in orchestral parlance, is called a prepared piano. Prepared according to the composer’s wishes, it can be wildly unstandardized in its tuning, and often has objects wedged between the piano’s wires to muffle or alter the sound. A quick google search will show you prepared pianos with silverware resting on top of the strings, or bolts and erasers stuck in among them. To look at it, you’d think an unruly ten-year-old was trying to get out of a piano lesson.  The post-modernist composer utilizing this jangling contraption is Alfred Schnittke. The piec

First Steps: My Foray into Ballet - And Yours

Writing about Movement Hello, and welcome to the first installment of the Kinetic Conversations Blog. If you are reading this, you might have heard our podcast,  Kinetic Conversations with the Fort Wayne Ballet , which we started in 2018. In it, we explore our ballet company’s performances and the history behind those works, and interview noted guests and members of the company.  My name is John Dawkins and I am the podcast’s producer and editor. That’s right, I’m not an expert in ballet or any form of dance; I am an audio engineer. Please don’t let that be an immediate deterrent to reading! Stick with me for a moment, because we’re trying something just a little different with this blog. You see, I want to write for the people who come to the ballet the way I did, four years ago – with no knowledge or preconceptions, no nose in the air, and with the honest intention to broaden my horizons.  All this said, I am not a stranger to the arts. I have been on the periphery of musical theater