In December 1964, saxophonist John Coltrane made one of the greatest jazz records of all time, A Love Supreme, a four-part suite consisting of “Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance,” and “Psalm,” featuring Coltrane on tenor and soprano sax, Jimmy Garrison on double bass, Elvin Jones on drums and percussion, and McCoy Tyner on piano. In 2005, Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Spanish dancer and choreographer Salva Sanchis created the four-part dance suite A Love Supreme, set to Coltrane’s legendary music; they have now revisited the piece, rewriting it for four male dancers from De Keersmaeker’s Rosas company. The fifty-five-minute dance work, which will be performed by José Paulo dos Santos, Bilal El Had / Robin Haghi, Jason Respilieux, and Thomas Vantuycom, investigates the desire for happiness through mysticism and spirituality, incorporating jazzlike improvisation into the movement, with each dancer interpreting one of the musicians on the record: Vantuycom is Coltrane, Respilieux is Garrison, El Had / Haghi is Tyner, and dos Santos is Jones. When the musicians improvise, so will the dancers.
“Taking on A Love Supreme fits with the idea of revisiting and rewriting Rosas’s repertoire for a new generation of dancers,” De Keersmaeker said in a statement. “What is interesting about the piece, in addition to its intrinsic connection with this milestone of twentieth-century music, is the way it combines improvised and written choreography.” Sanchis, who was part of the original cast in 2005, added, “On the whole, A Love Supreme is more suitable for a dance performance than a simple collection of songs. The music poses a structure with a beginning and an end, offering a kind of dramaturgical accessibility.” The New York City premiere of A Love Supreme runs at New York Live Arts September 27-30 at 7:30, with saxophonist Tony Jarvis performing a tribute to the seminal album at seven o’clock each night. The September 28 show will be followed by a Stay Late Conversation moderated by NYU associate professor and associate chair André Lepecki; there will be a Shared Practice workshop September 30 at 2:00 ($20) with Rosas rehearsal director Bryana Fritz and Respillieux; and on September 30 at 5:00 ($10), NYLA artistic director Bill T. Jones will be joined by music historian Ashley Kahn and bassist and composer Reggie Workman for the special Coltrane program “Bill Chats — The Man and His Music.” Tickets are sold out for all four shows, but there will be a standby line each evening to see what De Keersmaeker calls “essentially a piece about defying gravity. It is a piece about the relationship between mankind and the planet, between the vertical and the horizontal.”