European choreographers Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Salva Sanchis bring great American jazz to the Fringe Festival this weekend with a reprise of their acclaimed collaboration A Love Supreme, a tribute to John Coltrane's 1965 album.
Considered one of the greatest jazz records, A Love Supreme is a four-part suite that has Coltrane reaffirming his faith in God and laying bare his struggles with addiction in such evocatively titled tracks as "Acknowledgement," "Resolution," "Pursuance," and "Psalm."
De Keersmaeker is a Belgian dancer and choreographer who started out as a musician. Sanchis is a Spanish dancer and teacher who trained in Belgium. They first took A Love Supreme on tour in 2005; they bring a restaged, slightly tweaked version to the festival Friday through Sunday at FringeArts in Old City.
The duo's Coltrane collaboration was a natural development for both, Sanchis said in a phone interview.
De Keersmaeker's company, Rosas, was acclaimed for its jazz-based projects, and Sanchis said he has been a serious devotee of jazz since he was introduced to the music as a young dancer. He will participate at 4 p.m. Saturday in a free Fringe Artist Talk by jazz historian and biographer John Szwed at United By Blue, 144 N. Second St.
Sanchis said A Love Supreme, the dance, isn't merely informed by the Coltrane record.
"The whole thing, absolutely everything in the dance, is directly inspired by and constructed around [Coltrane's] music," Sanchis said.
Why this particular album?
"It's magnificent music, but that applies to many different recordings by Coltrane. What makes this so special is that it has a unity. It's not a collection of songs, but it's one unified piece of work."
Sanchis said Coltrane's A Love Supreme has a theatrical element, a "dramaturgical continuity that makes it possible to build a performance around it that has a beginning and an end."
Featuring four dancers, the piece pays homage to the controlled mix of improvisation and structure that Coltrane displays on the album. Released in 1965, A Love Supreme is a transitional record, coming out just before Coltrane's more experimental, improvisation-heavy period.
"Coltrane's piece has a very classic aspect to it, a classic blues structure," said Sanchis.
"And in our piece, we are using very classical ways of structuring our choreographic work. … It's not experimental or a deconstruction of the music but tries to be a well-crafted piece of choreography."