Nicola van Straaten & Coila-Leah Enderstein


Rhythm Study is a short dance film that documents the traces of a conversation between a musician and a dancer. In the performing arts, dance and music have always shared a certain relationship. Although each art form exists fully in its own right, there is something intuitive and attractive about the dialogue, the conversation and the collaborative exchange between movement and sound. There is a rhythm, both aural and visual, that bounces between the two. Towards the end of 2015, dancer and choreographer Nicola van Straaten filmed a series of movement experiments. One of these experiments included a short section of improvised movement, playing with the idea of a soundscape through the scraping and jumping of feet on concrete. In 2016 she re-discovered the footage and handed it over to collaborator and colleague, Coila-Leah Enderstein, a classically-trained pianist and artist. Coila watched the footage and proceeded to respond to the movements and the soundscape by creating a musical score. She composed and improvised a musical response to the visual rhythm. With the use of clapping and prepared piano* to add texture to the work, Coila’s score incorporates the ambient sound of traffic and scraping feet and playfully responds to the visual rhythms created. *’Prepared piano’ is a piano with objects (in this case bolts and nails) placed in the strings to produce a different or unusual tone or sound


Coila-Leah Enderstein is a Cape Town based pianist and artist. While studying at UCT, she won the Lionel Bowman Prize for Beethoven Playing and the Laura Searle Prize for Concerto Playing and competed as a semi-finalist in the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition for Keyboard Players. Coila-Leah performs around Cape Town in numerous capacities and is interested in creating interdisciplinary performance projects. One of her videos with dancer Nicola van Straaten will be exhibited at the National Art Gallery of Namibia in July 2016. She also works frequently with South African composers, premiering and commissioning several new works in 2015 and 2016. Coila-Leah will be performing at the Unyazi Festival of Electronic Music and collaborating with Underground Dance Theatre later in 2016.

Nicola van Straaten is a dance artist and practitioner. Her areas of interest include interdisciplinary explorations of movement, sound, improvisation, public art and the archival practise of documenting process through film and text. She graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BMus (Hons) Degree in Dance Studies in 2012. She currently runs Anybody Zine, an online and printed publication about dance, movement and bodies with two colleagues. Her short dance films have been selected by international juries and she has performed both her own work and collaborative projects at festivals such as the Baxter Dance Festival, Grahamstown Arts Festival and Vryfees in Bloemfontein.

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Artist: Coila-Leah Enderstein & Nicola van Straaten Title: Rhythm Study, 2016 Medium: Video
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Towards the end of 2015, dancer and choreographer Nicola van Straaten improvised a short section of movement, playing with the idea of a soundscape through the scraping and jumping of feet on concrete.

A few months later, pianist Coila-Leah Enderstein watched the footage and took this idea of a soundscape further by creating a piano score in response to the footage. Using prepared piano to add texture and layer, she responding musically to a visual rhythm.

Through collaborative play and dialogue, the two performing artists are left with a short film as the product of their experimental curiosity and craft.