Binaries (1977-80) for Four Dancers, Amplified Piano and Percussion

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Binaries was the second work in a series of multimedia piece that Dawson created in Montreal in the late seventies and the first that explored the relationship of experimental dance with sound.

As in "The Clouds of Magellan", "Binaries" takes its astronomical name from double star systems as symbolic of the interplay of the two media. In terms of the dance, Dawson met Dena Davida, an American dancer who was involved with the experimental arts movement and brought new techniques of Contact Improvisation to Montreal.

Using this new artform as a movement language, Dawson and Davida, in collaboration with 3 other dancers, worked together for 2 years to build a 20 minute choreography out of contact techniques and create a new movement notation system. The sound score is a counterpoint to these physical actions - points of amplified sound on piano and percussion separated by long silences that act as independant commentary on the movements of the dancers.

Binaries was premiered in 1978 at Pollack Hall in Montreal, and received a second performance at Le Conventum.