Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Friday, May 29, 2015


This is not wedding related but from my work as a choreographer and dancer.

On April 8th 2015 my latest dance theater production "NOLA" premiered at Kampnagel, Hamburg. It was a pleasure to work with such wonderful artists like Meschiya Lake, Travis Knights, Daniel Larsson, Sandra Kluge and my wife Ellen Marek.
We had an amazing band featuring Russell Welch, Kurt Holzkämper, Markus Voigt, Melf Uwe Holmer and Stefan Dahm.
The show was a huge success with over 2000 tickets sold. Here is a little video clip from the first choreography "Prologue"

NOLA "Prologue" from Thomas Marek on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

In other words

"I am three". This is how Charles Mingus fabulous autobiography "Beneath the underdog" begins.
It is an amazing text and in my last production "DRAMA - love songs and other jazz" we choreographed and expressed the text through the dance. There were different stages how the dance and text worked together and in this short clip you can see the combination of tap and a visual projection of the text.
The dancers are Laura Mogalle, Thomas Kolczewski und myself.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Portraits of the week

Last week Markus Voigt, a good friend of mine and great musician asked me to photograph a few portraits of his for his website. I gladly did so and we had a nice session in a theater on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. Here are three shots that I really like.
I did the all photographs with the Fuji X-Pro 1 and the 18 and 35mm lenses. It was my first portrait session with those cams and again I really liked it. I only worked with available light and it was quite dim at the theater. But the X-Pro is just perfect for those conditions.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

6 years ago Tap Dance project: about_tap vol no 2

While going through a bunch of old photos I came across a tap dance production I did in 2006. It was called "about_tap vol no 2" and it premiered very successfully at Kampnagel, Hamburg.
It was basically a staged, live portrait of six tap dancers of different generations and cultural backgrounds. The show mixed photography, spoken interviews, choreography and jazz.

The title was in reference to a film called "About tap" by George T. Nierenberg, which was a documentary on 3 tap dancers (Chuck Green, Jimmy Slyde and Steve Condos). As a youngster I watched that film a million times and it was a huge inspiration for my dancing.
With my show I wanted to create a staged and more abstract version of a tap dance portrait and their dancers. The idea was to photograph and interview each dancer in their hometown and ask them about their opinions and feelings about the dance form but also their career and life. It was a very personal and biographical show and I was lucky to work with some of the best dancers around.

In Paris I interviewed Sarah and Leela Petronio, Brenda Bufalino in New York and New Paltz, NY. Josh Hilberman in Boston, Pia Neises in Cologne and a self portrait of me in Hamburg.

In pre production interviews, footage and music where put together and were a starting point for the choreography. Later we all met in Hamburg for 4 or 5 weeks to put together the show and perform it.
It was a unique experience. Every dancer generously gave me personal footage and background information on their dance lifes that got mixed together into a full evening show.
It was very successful back then and I often feel that it should be revisited sometime. Very good memories.

Here is a video clip of the show and a couple of photos that were taken during that creative process.
Enjoy, Thomas

Brenda Bufalino chair bw sharp
Brenda Bufalino in New Paltz,NY
Sarah Petronio near Paris
Leela Metro60
Leela Petronio, Paris
Josh Hilberman, Boston
Pia Portrait Rheinterrasse17 pp sharp
Pia Neises, Cologne

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Shim Sham Shimmy

A student of mine asked me about the roots of the Shim Sham the other day and she had a bit of confusing knowledge about it. So here is what I know about the Shim Sham Shimmy...
The Shim Sham is a tap dance routine that was created in the late 1920s by Willie Bryant and Leonard Reed, who first named it Goofus. The dance steps became quite popular and eventually made it to a show in the New York night club "Shim Sham Club" where the Shim Sham routine further developed. 
Just like most standard swing tunes in the aaba structure The Shim Sham has four parts each 8 bars long (6 bars followed by a 2 bar break). So the whole dance reflects a 32 bar tune in the same structure. 
The 4 parts are : 1. Shim Sham, 2. The cross over , 3. Tack Annie, 4. Half break. 
Since the dance has always been very popular among tap and also swing dancers, there are many many different variations of this dance. It is considered the "national anthem" of tap dance.

Here is a youtube clip of my students perforiming the Shim Sham.....


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Forget 5,6,7 and 8 : How to count properly and communicate basic musicality.

I posted this blog entry a while ago on my old tap dance blog. I now decided to merge all my artistic work into one blog, so there will be a couple of reposts …. 

In today´s dancing world there are still many (tap) dancers counting 5,6,7,8 when refering to a 4/4 measure. This is quite confusing to almost everybody who is understanding the concept of a 4/4 feel, which only consists of four beats : 1, 2 ,3 & 4. So were do the 5,6,7 & 8 come from? It´s a way to count a 2 bar phrase as one logical unit : 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. So the 5,6,7,8 simply refer to the second bar of that phrase. But this is very unlogical because the measure only consists of 4 beats : 1,2,3 and 4. 

This is why I think you should drop counting 5,6,7 and 8 in a 4/4 measure: 

1. There simply isn´t 5,6,7,8 in a 4/4 feel. A 4/4 measure only consists of 4 beats. Namely: one, two, three and four.  

2. It is totally f***ing 80s and sounds a little stupid anyways. Who started it? Fame? :)

3.Counting to 8 ignores a main fact of swing music, which is a strong feel for the 4 beats. Ask Basie he knows : "Four beats and no messin´", Count Basie. 

4. Since by pure logic 1 is not 5 and 2 is not 6 and 3 is not 7 and 4 is not 8, this whole concept is pretty confusing. 

5. Transfering this way of "wrong" counting to other measures like 3/4 would mean trouble, because then you would end up counting a 6/4 or 6/8 which is clearly different than a 3/4 feel.

6. You probably count a 3/4 or 5/4 measure correct but not a simple 4/4? WTF??? 

7. Once you get used to correct counting you always know were you are in the music and you are able to communicate it with other musicians who also "speak the language". This is a universal musical language, that makes sense. Why do you want as dancer stand out, and simply do it wrong? 

8.You will never ever have to translate your steps and choreography when trying to work with musicians.... (How many eights again????) Stop being confused when trying to arrange your dancing to music. 

9. It´s a first step towards thinking in musical terms as a dancer and understanding the music. And since most (tap) dancers claim to be musicians that should be a given. 

10. Become a happy (tap) dancer.  


Saturday, May 5, 2012

tap dance artist brenda bufalino

yesterday i had the pleasure of performing together with tap dance legend brenda bufalino in hamburg.
together with an outstanding jazz quintet  we played at the "sprechwerk" and we truly had a lot of fun.
to me brenda bufalino is one of the most inspiring tap dance artists ever. her work has an artistic depth that is hardly found in tap. she really brings this dance form to another level.
the band members were markus voigt (tr), lorenz bösche (p), oliver karstens (b) & stefan dahm (dr).

so here are a few pictures from the rehearsals. all pictures were taken with the fuji x100. and btw anybody who thinks that this camera is too slow for moving subjects.... i don't think so. it is perfect to capture dance. anticipate!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

drama - love songs and other jazz

it is now almost 3 weeks that we showed the last performance of my latest tap dance production "drama - love songs and other jazz". the show was co produced and and performed at kampnagel, hamburg.
we had a lot of fun rehearsing and performing the show, so here are finally a couple of photos from that time.
the dancers were: ellen murray, laura mogalle, thomas kolczewski and me. on bass was kurt holzkämper. text edits by miriam mandelkow, production assistant: johanna bock
gefördert durch die kulturbehörde der hansestadt hamburg.