I spent Saturday evening hanging out at Dock 5 with a fresh arts group during their first major event. I'm very excited to see Halcyon Stage bring more arts and cultural events with a younger feel to DC. The Stravinsky Dance Party at Union Market's performance venue was a fun night with multiple performance styles creating an evening for those of us with just a bit of ADD.
The main draw of the evening was the Experiential Orchestra performing in a myriad of capacities. They started off with a short contemporary piece by Viet Cuong entitled "Scribbles and Riddles."
The energy and enthusiasm of the orchestra was apparent and it helped to start the evening off quickly.
Following a brief DJ set, one of the orchestra's percussionists, Peter Ferry, treated us to a very active drum break where you felt like he was more DJ than a classically trained musician. On a stage with the drums as his turntables, he engaged the audience with "Variations on a Balkan Rhythm," leaving us wanting more when he finished.
One of my favorite moments of the evening, Stuart Loungway choreographed Morgann Rose and Darion Flores (So You Think You Can Dance) through a performance that felt a little surreal. Like you were standing in a club when someone starts doing something amazing, the crowd circled around the pair as they were accompanied by Henry Wang performing the Bach Sarabande in D Minor.
The highlight of the evening was the orchestra's performance of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring." I won't go into any more into my thoughts on the performance any more than to say I agree with the Washington Post's assessment of the conductor's antics. The musicians performed very well and the sound in an industrial space was better than you would think. My favorites thing about the evening was standing so close to the musicians. Rather than being tens if not hundreds of feet back from the performers, engaging the sound but never the physical act. It was very enjoyable to stand right next to the Cellists and right behind the French Horns being enveloped by the sound and the physicality that goes into performing a piece that's over 30 minutes long.
As I said before, I'm very excited to have the Halcyon Stage in DC adding more vibrance to our arts scene. Check out their next event, April 8th in Georgetown: Halcyon House Party:Visions of the Future with Halcyon fellow Konshens the MC.