Paraorchestra & Extraordinary Bodies – Terry Riley’s ‘In C’

A performer dances in the centre using a walker with wheels, behind him Paraorchestra plays their instruments and they are lit from behind by a green light

In a collaboration between The British Paraorchestra and integrated circus company Extraordinary Bodies, Terry Riley’s minimalist masterpiece In C is reimagined in this unique union of two very different disciplines, experimenting with movement, sound, and the senses. The combined effect of The British Paraorchestra and Extraordinary Bodies playing In C is cathartic, uplifting and engulfing. The aural equivalent to climbing inside a giant lava lamp.

First performed at Fast Forward, Fri 3 June 2016, Colston Hall Bristol, In C was also at Birmingham THSH on Wednesday 27th February 2019.

Terry Riley is one of the greatest living composers of classical music. In 1964 he composed the now iconic In C, consisting of 53 short repeated melodies in C major: How often each melody is repeated, how coloured or intensified, is completely the choice of each individual player. But each player also has responsibility to the whole, ensuring they are never more than three melodies behind or ahead of any other member of the ensemble. It is all about listening, proposing, reacting.

Fascinating to watch, as the mood can be calming, or highly charged, depending on the ebb and flow of the musical textures

BBC Music Magazine

With semi-improvised movement, aerial flying and physical theatre, Extraordinary Bodies performers take cues from the impulsive and slow-morphing arrangement of Riley’s cornerstone minimalist composition, resulting in a hypnotic showcase of physical and mental dexterity and unrivalled levels of skill and intuition.

A Colston Hall and Bristol Plays Music commission, produced by The British Paraorchestra and Extraordinary Bodies. 

My Role

This was a wonderful experience with Paraorchestra and Extraordinary Bodies of wonderful sounds surrounding you and amazing improvised movement by everyone. We all made a set of movements that symbolised us that could be articulated in many ways, similar to sign names. We then used these as forms of communication throughout as well as combining the floor work with aerial equipment. This being the first double trapeze section I had with Tilly Lee-Kronick