This Saturday: A modern take on Rite of Spring
Join the South Florida Chamber Ensemble (SFCE) on a journey this season as the group follows French composer Camille Saint-Saens around the world.
The journey began in Finland last fall to celebrate Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’s 150th birthday. Then, it stopped at the Parthenon for works by Greek classical composers. For a short time, you can catch up with Saint-Saens in territory that’s perhaps more familiar.
Saint-Saens met Russian composer Igor Stravinsky in the U.S., after first watching Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” at a Parisian opera house. The production is generally performed with a full ballet and orchestra. But the SFCE is doing things different.
SFCE Executive Director Myrna Meeroff performs the two-part piece on the French horn alongside pianist Sheng-Yuan Kuan. Local choreographer Pablo Malco performs modern choreography to what’s typically a classical ballet, together with dancers Claudia Malco and Chad Wilson. The group’s inaugural performance wasn’t in the usual space either, but in Sirona Fine Art, a contemporary gallery at The Village at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach.
Curious shoppers trickled in to fill the space and peered through a large window on a brisk and sunny Sunday afternoon. Flanked by colorful portraits of Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon, the performers told Stravinsky’s controversial story.
The early 20th century piece is a tribute story to a virgin selected by a tribe at random. She dances to her death. When Stravinsky’s work was first performed in 1913, it caused riots. No one had seen anything like it.
Few will have seen anything like this collaboration either.
“It’s not the first of it being done, but it definitely is unique in the way that it’s hip-hop mixed with classical,” Pablo Malco said.
Pablo Malco and Meeroff met last year on the Creative Minds team, a five-person team that created Duende, Broward’s centennial celebration. One day, while walking to their cars, the two floated the idea of working together.
“It was like a fluke because we were together a lot but we never knew much about what each other was doing, so it was kind of cool,” Pablo Malco said.
He hopes the collaboration helps people see and appreciate differences.
“I’ve never seen a performance where the musician joins the dancers,” said Alice Haxton, who attended Sunday’s show.
Wondering what she’s talking about? You’ll have to see Saturday for yourself.
The group will perform Rite of Spring this Saturday, January 30th at 3 p.m. at Emma Lou Olsen Center, 1801 NE 6th Street, Pompano Beach.
“There’s nothing like seeing a live performance of anything,” said Suzanne Smith, art director at Sirona. “You’re part of it, even if you’re not performing, you’re part of the experience.”