it's not always classical music at the vancouver symphony orchestra. in an effort to attract younger audiences, they put on a special series called VSO pops where the orchestra also performs broadway, jazz or pop classics tunes.
a couple of weeks ago, i went to let's dance!, a special symphony pops concert created by conductor jeff tyzik and choreographer carla heiney. heiney is the 2010 national jitterbug champion and choreographer for so you think you can dance. (love that show)
heiney wasn't there, but the professional dancers whom she choreographed were there dancing swing, waltz, latin, ballroom and tap, all while accompanied by the VSO. a novel and fun idea, i thought. i only wished that the dancers were given more stage to traipse around on. they had only the front edge, while the orchestra took up most of the space. it probably was sufficient room but from where i sat, it looked like, at any moment, the dancers might grand jetee themselves into the audience.
lots of recognizable musical pieces during the concert. i think i pretty much recognized all of them. the night went a little something like this:
bernstein/peress - west side story
strauss - blue danube waltz
charleston / shimmy
gliere - russian sailors dance
50s medley (blue suede shoes, i've got a woman, johnny b. good, twisting the night away)
swing dance medley
saint-saens - bacchanale from samson and delilah
scent of a woman soundtrack - tango
cute/sing sing sing - tap
and they closed the evening with what else? the music and dancing from dirty dancing. but of course. it was uplifting and recognizable in its radio-friendliness to young and old members of the audience. the couple of dancers did the lift, sans running start.
a bit cheesy to be honest, but it might be that i'm not as cynical as the toe-tapping, hand clapping audience who really seemed to enjoy it.
one highlight of the night was tap dancer alex dugdale who performed right before the closing number. a young tap dancing wonder from america, he really gave it that night, much to the audience's delight.
overall, i think it was a entertaining night, but i would love it if the VSO were to put on a swing only concert. love the dancing and syncopated music. now that's a dance class i could get onboard with.