One fertile source of new music for the dance is the talent of many composer- arrangers who also collaborate with choreographers as conductors and instrumental performers.
The multiple titles of Stanley Sussman are an indication of the varied musical services that the dance world needs and welcomes. For openers, he is associate music director and composer-in-residence for the Cleveland--San Jose Ballet, as well as principal conductor for the Martha Graham Company and for the New Mexico Ballet.
Mr. Sussman came to his dance affiliations initially through his activities as a studio pianist, and through his arranging of music for dance bands when he was in the service.
Speaking with the author, Mr. Sussman described his first assignment as composer-in-residence in Cleveland: it was for a ballet choreographed by Dennis Nahat , titled Wu T'ai Shih. 1
"The translation that was given to me is 'Five Dance Poems,'" explained the composer. "It had something to do with five; it had something to do with dance; but it also had to do with some form of movement--not of dance form, rather of spiritual movement."
"I was new to the entire situation," he continued. "I had been writing music all my life, so I picked up whatever atmospheric feelings I would feel--and just wrote. The choreographer and I went for a five-movement suite. It was a form dance, not a story ballet. The choreography portrayed ideas relating to the elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and People."