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"Zinphora Doesn't Tell" will be performed Jan. 25, 26 and 27 at Grace Street Theatre 

Cutting-Edge Collaboration

"Zinphora Doesn't Tell," a collaboration between cutting-edge music ensemble One Ring Zero and VCU assistant professor/choreographer Barbara Grubel's dance troupe, will be performed Jan. 25, 26 and 27 at Grace Street Theatre. The performance will feature a live six-piece band and 10 dancers drawn equally from New York City and Richmond. Part groove jazz band, part experimental ethnic-music ensemble, One Ring Zero is all about innovation with a beat. Formed by VCU composition graduates Michael Hearst and Joshua Camp, the band has played in the United States and Europe as a high-energy band, scored films and backed storyteller Clay McLeod Chapman's Pumpkin Pie Show. Along the way the group has blended a wide range of musical influences into a unique sound. "We use odd instruments," Hearst says. Among the strangest is a claviola — an odd combination of bagpipe and accordion developed by Hohner, a musical instrument manufacturer best known for making harmonicas. "You blow in a pipe, and play the notes with a vertical keyboard. The tones are created by a free reed, like a harmonica, and are shaped by pipe length. The sound is closer to a clarinet, but it has the capability to bend notes and make trill sounds. "Since there are so few players, we've had the challenge and opportunity of pioneering playing techniques," Hearst says. The music draws on a variety of sources: cartoons, the circus, Nino Rota's scores for Fellini films, klezmer and Eastern European music. "A lot of it is modal, especially minor key, which gives it a spookier sound, "according to Hearst. "We've also incorporated a lot of rock elements, which are a major part of our live performances. "It's a good match for Grubel's choreography. She includes a lot of 'behind-the-scenes' movements. The dancers fixing their hair or clothing; things you don't usually see onstage. When you see five dancers stop and tuck in their shirt in unison, it's striking."
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