It’s a strange feeling getting invited to an event when you have no idea what to expect. On Wednesday I attended the premiere of Red Bull Flying Bach and as I walked through the elegant doors at the State Theatre and looked around at the eclectic mix of ticket holders I can honestly tell you I had no idea what I was in for.
The last time I was in the State Theatre was for a Warren Miller ski film when I was 15 and I bet I didn’t appreciate it as much as I did this time round. The venue is quite literally stunning and provides the perfect atmosphere for Flying Bach’s fusion of old and new.
Waiting for the show to start I really began to absorb the enchanting nature of the theatre and as the crowd shuffled in the anticipation grew until it finally relaxed as the lights dropped and the sound of Johann Sebastian Bach filled the room.
Flying Bach is a collaborative interpretation by conductor Christoph Hagel and Berlin based dance company Flying Steps. The concept was born shortly after Hagel watched Flying Steps perform in 2009 and the two parties found themselves in the right place at the right time. Flying Steps were looking to do a classical interpretation but couldn’t find the appropriate piece of music; Hagel studied their moves and applied the steps to Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. While Hagel took no part in the choreography he helped analyse the music in a format the dance crew could understand and helped them to shape their own interpretation of Bach’s compositions.
The show is incredibly impressive in more ways than one. Firstly the raw talent and core strength of the dancers must be seen to be believed. It’s clear from the start that each dancer has their own strengths and these are showcased as an integral part of telling the story. Secondly, and probably the thing I enjoyed the most was the unique combination of the piano and harpsichord blended with modern beats to form its own pseudo breaks genre which lends to the versatility of the dancing. Like the music, the show utilizes both classical and modern dance styles resulting in a performance that is as heavily ballet influenced as it is breakdance.
Red Bull Flying Bach is a fascinating concept because it takes breakdance to ‘high society’ and delivers classical music to a stereotypically uninterested younger audience. The audience on the night was anything but uninterested; the energy in the room was remarkable as the crowd erupted throughout the show as the big power moves went down. The whole experience was fantastic, not just because it’s entertaining but because it’s so culturally groundbreaking. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some tickets it’s a performance not to be missed.
Image Source: Red Bull Content Pool