Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Martha Nishitani Interview
Narrator: Martha Nishitani
Interviewer: Sara Yamasaki
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 15, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-nmartha-01-0042

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SY: When you talk about different types of choreography, you choreographed something that was, in some ways, different from many of the other pieces, and people were all dressed fully from head to toe in black. Could you tell me about that piece?

MN: Oh, that was also a dance that had nothing to do with any emotion or... it was called "Line in Design." (...) We did it in class. We explored straight lines and curved lines. And if, when you stop to think, there isn't anything in this world except straight lines and curved lines. And straight lines can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or you can put a series of diagonals together and you have a zigzag. And if you take a curved line, you can have a circle. It can be concave, it can be convex. You put (...) a convex and a concave together, and you get kind of a meandering line. So that's all there is in this world no matter where you look, there's straight and curved lines. So we worked on that as a study, and then finally we (added) the idea of directions. You can go up and down, and front and back, and side and diagonal, two sides in a diagonal. So with that, we had straight lines that went up and down, and front and back, and side and diagonal. And then you could bend that line, and you could still have up, front, down, side, diagonal, and so forth. And then curved lines, you could do concave and convex, and you could do that with your body. So, so first thing we were working on was these bent lines and straight lines. Then had a, a composer came in. And he looked at that, and he composed this music for straight lines. Then he went away. And (...) I choreographed the curved lines. And then he came back and he looked at it (...) and he came back with the music for curved lines. And then I combined both curved and bent lines, and they, it developed into kind of a sculptural pattern, which was really quite lovely. And he came back and he wrote the music for that. So it was -- dance came first, music came second.

SY: Wow.

<End Segment 42> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.