Superstruct (2004)

Duration 10’
For Piano and pre-recorded track with Daniel Mullin (violin), Patrick Jones (cello) and Ian Stuart (sax)
Choreographed by Sara Matthews
First performed as part of the 2004 Ballet Central National tour at the Playhouse, Epsom

In Superstruct Sara Matthews contrasts the bright fast neo-classical world of pointe-work introduced in the first section with the more grounded equally fast barefoot dancers in the final section. In between there is a curious, secret, almost aleatoric suspended solo (danced by Georgie Pimm).

When the composer, recently returned from the Dublin Theatre Festival and the triumph of Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Giselle, played his ideas through to Sara Matthews, they were scored for syncopated harp, perhaps a legacy of his time in Ireland. Liking the zinkiness of the music, she wasn’t keen on the harp colour, so we opted instead for the snap of pizzicato strings, offset by a choir of saxes (all played by Ian Stuart). The pizzicato recording session was a particularly taxing affair as repeated plucking, particularly alone in the Ballet Central basement without any fellow prisoners, proved tricky. Quite a lot of sampling was entailed as well.

The vigorous pressing finale had a strange kind of symphonic techno-musik feel to it, as slabs of music were pasted one after the other, a riot of juxtapostition. The title, with its overtones of construction, seemed very apt in studio 2 at Central School of Ballet, which at the time was dwarfed by a towering scaffolding structure. Right at the end of the piece a brand new sax phrase repeats itself only to fade, and likewise the stage is left with just two dancers continually repeating a phrase as the lights fade. It is as if a new piece sticks it head above the superstructure but we are not permitted to see more.

photos by Bill Cooper