LOCAL HAPPENINGS AND MORE IN THE SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY CITY OF SAN CLEMENTE

Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment’

Le Sacre Du Printemps

Le Sacre Du Printemps

The lights come up on the McKinney Theater stage, illuminating a twisted metal tree hung with feathers, bones, and a scarlet red dress. The vibrant abstract backdrop frames two musicians each seated at grand pianos in eerie silhouette. As the haunting first notes of le Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring) are played, dancers clad in simple white dresses begin to enter the space. At first their movements are delicate and timid, but as the piece progresses the music becomes more powerful, and the twenty female dancers’ choreography also becomes more aggressive and dynamic. The audience sits on the edge of their seats as the performers dance out the story of a dramatic tribal ritual, ending with the sacrifice of one of the maidens. As the lights come up for the bow and the last notes of music fade away, the release of tension is palpable, and the audience finally takes a breath, breaking into enthusiastic applause for the Saddleback College students.

2013 year marks the one hundred year anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky for the Ballets Russes; this Paris premiere caused one of the largest theater riots in history, revolutionized music, and helped to push ballet into the modern age. In celebration of the centennial of this seminal twentieth-century work of art; Saddleback College showcased Stravinsky’s epic score with two performances of his Music for Four Hands version, played live by college music professors Norman Weston and Kirill Gliadkovsky, accompanied by a premiere of new choreography by dance professor Deidre Cavazzi. “We are thrilled to bring the dance, music and theater arts departments of Saddleback College together for this production, in the spirit of the original 1913 Ballets Russes piece, which merged the visions of artists like Igor Stravinsky, Vaslav Nijinsky, and Nicholas Roerich”, says Cavazzi, “The students are so passionate about this project, and they’ve been really excited to learn more about the history of Rite of Spring in the process of setting this new version of choreography. It’s also such a treat for the dancers to perform with live music and to have student artists creating paintings for the piece.” The Stravinsky score is incredibly complex, with the dancers switching time signatures and concentrating to keep count in ever-changing tempos. The piece is 35 minutes in length, and the dancers remain on stage the entire time, immersing the audience in the journey of the tribe. The beautiful abstract paintings created by professor Karen McNulty’s scenic design students brought the space to life, and audiences mingled after the performances at a silent art auction, bidding on the paintings that had been part of the show.

The performances were preceded by a short presentation about the hundred-year history of Rite of Spring in the fields of both music and dance. Norman Weston played excerpts for the audience, discussing their importance and showing how they redefined music in the modern era. He explained that “the Rite of Spring is perhaps the single most iconic piece of music of the 20th century. In this work, Stravinsky’s approaches to rhythm, harmony, melody and orchestration were all revolutionary. And yet, even though the work is radical on so many levels, and still sounds as if it could have been written yesterday, it managed, after an admittedly rocky premiere, to achieve universal acceptance fairly quickly. That, to me, is one of the most remarkable things about it.” Deidre Cavazzi also shared the infamous and influential story of the premiere, describing how Nijinsky’s choreography was lost for 75 years, inspiring countless artists to create their own versions and also discussing her process working with the students over the past few months.

The extraordinary score, coupled with vibrant new art and Cavazzi’s powerful choreography, captivated audiences in early February, and will hopefully inspire future interdisciplinary productions at the college infused with similar creativity and passion.

Roman Alexander and the Robbery

Roman Alexander and the Robberty

Roman Alexander and the Robbery

With a sound as original as its name, it’s no surprise this local band was nominated for ‘Best Blues’ at the 2010 Orange County Music Awards.

Written by Anna Curtis The OC has long been the initial stomping grounds of great musicians, at least in recent rock history. Heck, even Leo Fender himself—father of the electric guitar—lived his whole life in Fullerton. So the band, Roman Alexander and the Robbery, is no different when it comes to a group of talented young individuals putting it all on the line and taking their shot at the music industry. As well they should. Evolutionary in style and genre, their music comes smoothly at you with a bluesy soul-and-funk feel that resonates somewhere way down deep. “I don’t believe in styles anymore,” lead singer Roman Alexander says. “I think people just want to hear music that’ll make them feel something.” Well, whether his band can be categorized as a particular style or not (and it probably can’t be pigeonholed), there is one type of music everybody likes: the good kind. For Roman Alexander and the Robbery, that means a soulful voice over folk-y chord with a rhythmic backbone, raw leads and a smooth finish. Just the thing you weren’t expecting on a Saturday night in a microcosm like the OC. Unless, of course, you were in the know. You can thank us later, after you’ve caught one of their shows live. Of course they’re in demand—they tour all over California, playing 15 venues a month. And their self-released album, “Roman Alexander and The Robbery,” is available on iTunes and Amazon.com. Somehow, some way, get yourselves in front of these guys before they hit the big time.

Meet the Band

Lead singer Roman Alexander is inspired by the idea of affecting people by the lyrics he writes. Growing up, his father introduced him to classic rock and great artists like Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley and Curtis Mayfield. Coupled with his mother’s love for great soul music from artists like Al Green, and bands like Earth, Wind and Fire, Alexander developed his own creative sense of music. “It’s a hard living, but as long as I have a guitar in my hands, there’s always new songs to sing and new people to play them for,” Alexander says. “This is how we get by.” Guitarist Matt McDavid will tell you his family is a machine run by music, and his life has always had a soundtrack. It’s obvious he has total faith in the others as musicians. “We do a lot of impromptu jams live, where we just pick a note and see where it takes us,” he says. “It’s inspiring every time one of those jams goes well.” Percussionist Scott Gronsky started playing music by ear when he was 9 years old, and never stopped. He feels “like a gladiator” when he plays music live. Ultimately, he’d like to travel the world expressing his creative side by pushing the boundaries of music. “It’s like I’m adding color to a musical painting.” Keyboardist Chad Stanner grew up amid musical instruments all around the house and loves the fact that he makes music almost every night of the week. “My goal is to basically travel the world as a musician,” he says. Bassist Ryan Reno is the snarky one of the bunch (a trait he admits “doesn’t translate well in e-mails or texts), and has been playing since he was 11 years old. His inspiration is seeing the bands he loves play, “unless they’re terrible live.” What does he love most about the work he does? “Free food and drinks,” he says, mulling it over. “And I’m kinda serious about that.” For bookings:  714.875.5743 romanalexanderandtherobbery.com myspace.com/romanalexanderandtherobbery