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Hammer And Nail 2011

The Process Is Clear, But The Name's A Puzzle

Hammer and Nail is in its sixth year of pairing student choreographers from IU's Contemporary Dance Program with composers from the Jacobs School of Music. Its title, though, is a bit of a mystery. The dancers think that the name "Hammer and Nail" came from the composers, but none that I've talked with can remember its origin.

Speed-Dating Leads To A 'Pre-Nup'

The process began last fall with a speed-dating session, as composers and choreographers followed up brief meetings by listing their own first, second, and third choices for music and dance ideas. One of the resulting marriages is between choreographer Mollie O'Reilly and composer Will Rowe.

"I wasn't too specific, but I outlined my idea for a three-part piece about growth and maturation," says O'Reilly. "I liked his choice of instruments, and there was a good feeling between us that has proven true."

Rowe says that he wasn't too specific about instruments. "I did say that I like strings. I'm a cellist. And I too felt that Mollie and I would work well together." Since then, Rowe's ensemble has grown to a full octet, with winds and percussion complementing the strings.

The Process

One of the goals of Hammer and Nail is to foster the creativity of both the choreographers and the composers. "I actually waited until Will had written music for the first segment to begin making my dance," says O'Reilly.

"Yes," agrees Rowe, "that's how it started, but then I came to her class and the rehearsals. I'd see things in the dance, and she'd hear things in the music. We really did create together."

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