The Saturated Moment

Sap Dance


Nigel Stewart


Dominique Bulgin


Lisa Whistlecroft

Lighting Design

Mat Hale and Steph Sims

Listen (and see!)

Vignettes from the Saturated Moment. Louis, Jinny, Susan, Bernard, Neville and Rhoda.

With thanks to Joe Pino for hosting the video.


The Saturated Moment is an exploration of Virginia Woolf's novel The Waves. In Woolf's novel each character is construed by turns of phrase that register particular impressions of the natural world. This 15-minute dance-theatre piece reveals the physical basis for those impressions, creating patterns of live action and recorded sound that distinguish between the six characters but also, in the manner of the novel, dissolve them into each other. (Nigel Stewart).

The choreography was created during an intensive 10-day residency with choreographer, dancer and composer working together to explore the movement worlds of the six characters. The corresponding sound worlds were outlined in concept at this stage. The sound score was created in the composer's studio in the following weeks, creating a parallel representation of the characters but with precise timing based on the overall shape and the detailed movements of the choreography. In rehearsal, the choreography was refined within the soundworld created by the score.

Six 'signature' portraits-in-sound of the characters - the sonic essences of each - have been extracted from the full score. Accompanying each sound portrait are still photographs of that character taken during the performance by Steve Baker and Mat Hale.

Sound Design Exhibitions

This sequence of 'sound signatures' and still photographs was included in the 'Sound Booth' curated by Karen Lauke for the Society of British Theatre Designers' Transformation & Revelation Exhibition, Cardiff 2011, at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, Wales, 18 March-16 April 2011.

The Sound Booth was selected for the subsequent smaller exhibition at the V&A, London, in 2012 which subsequently went on tour in 2012 and 2013.


The Saturated Moment was created during an intensive research residency through the Artists' Programme of Chisenhale Dance during August 2006, and subsequent work in Lancaster. Thanks to Nigel Stewart and Dominique Bulgin, without whom there would be no piece, and to Steve Benner for massive technical support and several crucial gestures.

Source Acknowledgements

Thanks to Milton Garces of the Infrasound Laboratory of the University of Hawaii (ISLA) for generously allowing me to make use of his infrasound recordings; acknowledgement to SoundDogs for their online sound effects library, to the nature sound recordists whose work has been fragmented and buried deep in this piece, and to the makers of those artefacts whose sounds have similarly been taken far from their sources.


For performances of the complete dance piece, see The Saturated Moment's own page.