Dancing with Somebody is a musical celebration of the life, music and persona of diva sensation Whitney Houston, one of my favourite pop artists. Embedded subtly within the work’s thematic language are fragments of her hit tunes The Greatest Love of All and
I Wanna Dance With Somebody. This string quartet explores Whitney’s rise to stardom and glamour, her superstar talent and prowess, as well as her gradual decline from grace, her struggle with drugs and her eventual, tragic death. The overriding musical character of Dancing with Somebody is ironically jovial and buoyant. Despite this, the work juxtaposes light-hearted music with moments of eerie grotesqueness, culminating in an intense “dance macabre” with allusions to heavy metal and dub-step. These musical juxtapositions might be considered as a reflection of society’s flippant, hedonistic obsession with tabloid scandal and rumour, overshadowing the celebrity’s raw talent, potential and humanity. Ultimately, Dancing with Somebody expresses my admiration of Whitney’s unforgettable voice, her enchanting persona, and the lasting impact of her legacy on millions of people around the world.
Dancing with Somebody was written and developed while living in New York City and studying with Julia Wolfe and Hollywood film scoring legend Ira Newborn. It was premiered in New York City in April 2013 by the JACK Quartet. It received its Australian Premiere by Acacia Quartet who recorded the work for the album Dancing With Somebody, released in 2015.