There is something about entering a formal theater that transports you to an unparalleled world. The Tallahassee Ballet, in collaboration with Florida State University’s Colleges of Music and Dance, brought to us the show “An Evening of Music and Dance” this past weekend. As we imagine Alice felt falling down the rabbit hole, or Ariel felt finally seeing above the water, this performance was transformative, it enchanted you into another world- a world of movement and rhythm where communication is known through body and sound.
At the start of the performance, the lights rose downstage to reveal six black chairs in a straight line- one with a piano in front of it, and five with empty stands. Throughout the evening of music and dance, various ensembles replaced each other. There is something about entering a theater lit up with rich, red lights and filled with live accompaniment that sent you into a lavish dream. Six strong dancers entranced the audience with effortless pirouettes and piqué attitudes: balletic movements that mimicked quick water spirits. With the conclusion of the opening piece I realized these the performance ability encompassed by these dancers and musicians.
I came to find out later on, this group had only three weeks to assemble this program. Putting movement to live music is no easy task and live accompaniment, as anything occurring in the moment, cannot promise to stay exact. Knowing this, you could observe the glances, cues, and conversations that happened silently on stage to create a fluid concert: cellists using hand movements to indicate pauses and breaths, dancers using eye contact to signal the end of breaks or the changing of tempo.
The Tallahassee Ballet has assembled a group of technically and artistically profound professionals and students who swept the stage with leaps and lifts, the accompanists who read every notion splendidly as to keep music and movement coherent. When the entirety of those involved with this show, including stagehand, choreographers, directors, dancers, and musicians were asked questions at the conclusion of this evening, many revolved around collaborative effort. — “What do you [musicians] like about people performing to your music?” — “It is amazing to see how [dancers] interpret this music and how they put it into form, it is a rare treat,” says pianist Deloise Lima.
From sharp, percussion-based, fiery pieces to gentle, rolling, vocally-lead pieces, these artists showed their strengths. Following along with the theme of symbiosis between music and dance was Carla Connors, an opera performer. Ms. Connors actualized the idea of a fantasy experience, her voice carrying through the entirety of the theater with grace and gusto, and, from speculation, what looked like pure joy. From this performance and the question and answer session that followed, I have gathered that Tallahassee’s fine arts society is indeed alive, thriving, and growing with passionate members of the community.
MAYA SAXENA / Contributing Writer