Thanks to an old friend, I was given a chance to watch the Flying Bach performance at the Esplanade last night. I was a little apprehensive about going because I know nothing of break dancing except for the street performances I have seen in NY and Europe. Plus I had nothing to wear.
Still, a night out is a night out. And I was very pleasantly surprised.
To begin with, Flying Bach started off with someone sitting at the piano, playing, what else, Bach. Then the break dancers came on stage. And started jumping, and twisting and doing all manner of acrobatic feats. And there was also a boy who was very clearly the Odd One Out. And then suddenly, a girl also came on stage and she was very clearly, The Ballerina. Anyway, this was very clearly a dance performance which melded two very different worlds: the Classical and the Modern. Kind of like a 90 minute dance interpretation of the movies Can You Dance (or something like that).
Bach, too, was twisted and changed to suit the different interpretations of dance. I have to admit, I was so engrossed in the acrobatics on stage, I paid very little attention to the two pianists by the side. There were clearly three different methods in which the music was being conveyed: the playing styles of the two live pianists and a broadcast of a DJ’d Bach.
My main complaint was the audience. Several people were late and the ushers kept taking them to their seats in the dark. But the problem was that they proved to be very distracting. For a performance that has no intermission, and so dependent on the attention of the audience, the ushers should have just asked the audience to move forward to any available seats before the start of the show and then to deposit the late comers (so rude! seriously! This is a performance, not a wedding dinner!!!) at the back where they won’t disturb people who had the good grace to actually arrive on time!
Also, I think the location was wrong for a performance like this. I think it would have worked much better either in an open air setting or in a much much smaller location, a more intimate setting. As it was, most of the audience was dressed up as if they were going to some gala event, while the two pianists were dressed … rather casually. And the formal atmosphere of the theatre made one very reluctant to well, enjoy the energy that was spewing off the dancers. There were several instances when I felt like if this had taken place on a side walk in NY, people would have been clapping or at least moving to the music with the dancers. Break dancing, to me, feels like a very organic art form and having people sit down in a huge theatre takes the organism out.
Still, it was a rather cool experience. I think, if I ever find them performing under different circumstances, I might actually make the effort to go watch them again.