Temptation of the Muses

with the Ahn Trio

Premiered December 2010 at the Harlem School of the Arts Theater in New York


Nai-Ni Chen

Lighting Designer/Stage Manager:

Joe Levasseur


Costume Designer:

Anna-Alisa Belous

Temptation of the Muses
An Evening of Music and Dance
Trio Only
David Balakrishnan**
Dancers: 4 females, 3 males
Pat Metheny
Trio Only
Kenji Bunch
Dancers: 4 females, 2 males
Costumes: Karen Young
Kenji Bunch

Dancers: 2 females, 2 males
Ronn Yedidia
BACKSTEP, from danceband*
Trio Only
Kenji Bunch
Dancers: 1 female, 1 male
Kenji Bunch
DISCO BOOGIE, from danceband*
Trio Only
Kenji Bunch
GROOVEBOXES, from Swing Shift
Dancers: 4 females, 1 male
Kenji Bunch

All pieces written or transcribed for Ahn Trio.

*Commissioned by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

**Transcribed by Kenji Bunch  



Made possible by the Live Music for Dance Program from the American Music Center which is supported by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. 

Composer’s note

 “Concrete Stream” usually refers to an artificial trickle of water in a backyard garden- essentially an elaborate home improvement project.  Perhaps a more poetic interpretation of the term could suggest the paradox between the organic and man-made; the struggle for the existence of fluidity and natural beauty in an urban, industrial context.  This work explores these two conflicting concepts, by incorporating elements of “floating” melody, free from traditionally notated rhythms, juxtaposed with the insistent inflexibility of repetitive motives.

-Kenji Bunch (November 2010)

Choreographer’s note

It is always very exciting to bring talents together from different disciplines in the arts.  Each one of us is driven by inspiration from poetry, drama, music, dance and our lives.  We are the muses tempted to toss our energy and pass on from one to the other.  During the creative process the dancers are actively involved in improvisation.  I gave them a lot of freedom to express themselves.  The outcome is not only the collaborative effort between the composer, musicians and me. It is many hours of hard work from my dancers.  I am grateful for the input from all of my dancers, especially for their enthusiasm, support and creativity throughout the process.

While I was searching for ideas to create a piece in collaboration with Kenji Bunch (later he titled it “Concrete Stream”), this poem provided me with movement and sound images.  I shared it with all collaborators and we started from there, moving on to the final product.

-Nai-Ni Chen (December 2010)

A Word for Freedom

By Latif Nazemi

Translated from the Persian/Dari by Bashir Sakhawarz

Let's kiss water

the root of civilization

a word for freedom


I'm in love with water

with roaring and restless rivers

that are not seduced by trees

nor captured by jungles

They flow day and night

carry on forever.

Let's praise rivers that lust for flowing

for searching for a heart of temptation

that know what message water delivers to stone,

the questions water asks from quiet coasts.


Passerby, for a long time

the river has been constrained in an old robe

on our street and thrown into a well


Water wars with the well

water in the mind of a tree

water in the solitude of a cup,

water in the memory of flowerpot,



I had a wonderful dream on Friday night.

I dreamed the river ran free

that on its roaring horse

it rode over stones,

past the border of farms