Sublime Oasis (2012)

commissioned by East London Dance Company & Spitalfields Music Festival

Duration: 9′

Instrumentation: accordion, delay pedal, and electronics

Commissioned by the 2012 Spitalfields Hidden Gems Dance Festival

A collaboration between composer Brian Mark, choreographer Leila McMillan, musician Xian Gao and the Bishopsgate Institute library.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

A play between tranquility and chaos.  A play between mover and musician.  A play between the old and the new.  A play between theory and the unknown.  A journey through the infinite. -Leila McMillan, Choreographer.                                         For video presentation


Sublime Oasis was commissioned by the East London Dance Company and premiered at the Spitalfields Hidden Gems Dance Festival on 23 June, 2012 at the Bishopsgate Institute Library in the Spitalfields Market. The performance featured a choreographed piece with a dancer, accordion, along with pre-recorded electronics and delay pedal.  The piece is 9 minutes.  Since the location of a library was picked as our location for our performance, the choreographer and I came up with ideas of “old vs. new” as a theme for our project.  The title comes from the thought of an oasis of tranquility in the middle of chaos, high-speed city life.

In retrospect of “old vs. new”, Sublime Oasis was more of a conceptual homage to vernacular music and folk-­‐like melodies in the history of western music.  Our choice of using “soundbites” from noises of a victrola and a “tin pan alley” recording of the Edison gramophones at the opening of the piece was our way of emulating the atmosphere of the old world, in such a location that is associated with the past.  With this style of vintage sounds opening the piece, Sublime Oasis goes back and forth between different sections, in various moods, to invite the audience of reflecting on today’s hectic society in a remote building such as a library.  The accordion gives a fresh take on the piece, as the instrument is a bridge between two worlds, as one can feel its history and its freshness from the resonance throughout the room.