Suns Dance, composed between December 1984 and July 1985, is a bright counterpart to my Night’s Mask for soprano and seven instruments (written a year earlier) and shares much material with that piece. In Night’s Mask an overall very slow tempo is interrupted by two very fast episodes, and Suns Dance takes this fast music as a starting point, its dominant mood being one of energy. Within a formal scheme of continuous variation (and very little recapitulation) there is an alternation of extended tuttis and concertante solos, the most notable of these being for contrabassoon, oboe, horn and viola in the first half of the piece, and, just before the coda, piccolo and double bass.
Suns Dance was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta with funds made available by the Arts Council, and is dedicated to Donald Mitchell. In 1987 Ashley Page choreographed the work for the Royal Ballet under the title Pursuit.