Original Artwork by Claude Smith, Words Fall Away Collection
In the Middle of a Smile is a three act duet for pianist and dancer. This original work, the collaborative creation of composer John Sharpley and dance choreographer Maxine Heppner, channels their combined 130 years life work and experiences, distilled into a 60 minute sensory journey. The audience is guided through a physical dimension in Act I to a deconstructive phase in Act II, culminating in a universal harmonic resonance in the final act.
Getting off to a playful start, the action moves amongst life experiences in the physical realm, the world of causality. Every cause has an effect, every action has a reaction. Pianist and Dancer, John and Maxine, as they exist in the material world. Act I is designed with an operatic structure:
1) Recitative for John and Maxine,
2) Aria for Maxine,
3) Aria for John, and
Moving in and out of layers of “reality”, a shedding and deconstruction happens. Breaking down experiences to the smallest level, atomisation occurs. A microcosm of impulses, frequencies and atoms are increasing apparent. Act II is simply a different way of experiencing Act 1, occupying the same space and the same time. Act II, also in an operatic structure, comprises:
1) Recitative for Maxine,
2) Aria for Maxine,
3) Recitative for John,
4) Aria for John, and
A simultaneity reveals itself. In an atom, we see the universe. A dimension beyond dimensions, a space yet not a space, a harmonic flow into openness, one-ness and collective consciousness. The duality of John and Maxine is merged.
Dr. John Sharpley, composer, performer and teacher, possesses a unique and multi-faceted career that spans geographic and cultural borders. Born in Houston, Texas, USA, he earned a Doctorate in Composition from Boston University; a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music degrees from the University of Houston; and diplomas for piano, violin, and composition at the National Conservatory of Music in Strasbourg, France. His composition teachers include Michael Horvit, David Del Tredici, John Harbison, Betsy Jolas and Leonard Bernstein. (Read Full Bio)
Maxine Heppner, award-winning senior contemporary dance, theatre, intermedial artist & educator in Canada, the European Union & East Asia, is known since the 1970’s for her large-scale performance works (“audacious”) and intimate chamber pieces (“reaching a new state of mind”) (“exposing the heart of the human condition”). (Read Full Bio)