MSO and Arabesque bring classical music and modern dance together

| Wouter Stoter

UT culture associations MSO and Arabesque will premier their shared performance ‘Melody in Motion’ this Sunday at the Agora (Vrijhof). It’s a surprising collaboration, since MSO always plays classical music, while Arabesque does modern dance. This performance brings together these two seemingly contrasting worlds.

From an MSO performance last summer.

The idea arose when members of Musica Silvestra Orchestra (MSO) were having a drink in the Sports Centre. They were talking about collaborations, as one of their previous collaborations did not go as planned. ‘I’m also in Arabesque, we can do something with Arabesque’, said MSO member Alec Zirnheld.

‘Part of us’

That’s how the collaboration came to be. Still, the associations initially practiced on their own. ‘We started practicing on a recording of a different orchestra’, Zirnheld explains. According to Zirnheld, Arabesque did have some trouble getting used to it, as they usually don’t dance to classical music. ‘It's a very interesting challenge because there are less percussive beats, so we have to pay much more attention to what the music sounds and feels like.’

Last Sunday, the two associations practiced together for the first time to put the performance together. ‘It looks really good what they’re doing to our music, and it looks like they’re having a good time doing it’, says MSO member Peter van der Wal. ‘Arabesque dances around the orchestra, it’s like they’re really part of us.’

Concert etiquette

The students do warn first-time visitors about the concert etiquette, as people are not supposed to clap until the piece is really over, not just when it’s silent. However, this also sparks a discussion among them about when to clap during one of their pieces, as it consists of multiple parts and Arabesque only dances to some of it. They are sure, however, that their conductor has an opinion on this. ‘Just clap when the conductor puts down his baton’, Van der Wal concludes, referring to the stick the conductor holds.

Next to the pieces Arabesque will dance to, MSO will also play some pieces on their own. However, MSO has acquired a taste for collaborations, and is planning to ask ballet association Primo Ballerino to join them for their summer concert, to dance to the piece of Midsummer Night’s Dream.

There will be two performances in the Agora (Vrijhof), one on Sunday at 15:00 and one on Monday at 20:00. Tickets can be bought at the door, but can already be reserved via the MSO website. A ticket costs €5 for those with a UnionCard and €10 for others.

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