A Modern Take on a Classic

Tonight we were treated to an interesting performance of the Goldberg Variations by Andersson Dance and the Scottish Ensemble. I went into it thinking that I would hate it, and I’m glad to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

By Janarth Dheenadhayalan

The performance hall

I think the dancers changing the setting added to the atmosphere of “variations.” The music also changed tone with each variation and the dancers changed the set accordingly.

Before the performance

Anderson dance started off with a crazy interpretation of the first variation. The movements the dancers performed can only be described as erratic and definitely shocked the audience. Many people were laughing because of how strange it looked. Yet, I believe that it worked. It broke the expectation that Bach is supposed to be rigid and structured, and presented an idea of a more flowing– contemporary piece.

The performers immediately before the performance

I think the outfits and colors enhanced my appreciation of the performance. I certainly did not expect a dance choreographed for Bach to feature a man wearing nothing but pink underwear flying around the stage. It broke my expectations and dispelled the notion that baroque era music is only for stodgy old men.

I appreciated the musicians participating in the dance. I think it united the musicians and dancers as one, and brought the dance and music parts closer together. I think that it is difficult for an artist to branch out into another discipline, and in my experience it rarely happens. The whole performance seemed more cohesive because the musicians were dancing with the dancers.

The dance was playful in that there were many jokes throughout. For example, the dancers at one point said that they would not dance to a certain variation because it was too “serious.” The audience laughed at several points throughout the performance and I thought it was quite easy to watch, listen to, and appreciate.

I thought that I would hate this, but I left having a newfound appreciation for both Bach and modern dance. I still am not quite sure how, but everything about the performance worked. Given the opportunity, I would absolutely go to something like this again.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.