Great news for everyone who wants to participate in the International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley: Price reductions are happening NOW. Do not hesitate; these deals are too good to pass up. New offerings are (1) for the Festival Preview Day, take one class for $12.50; take TWO for $20. (2) for those wanting to take only two of the M2F© workshops, new price is $180. These are great deals for amazing experiences. The Festival Preview classes can be enjoyed by total beginners who have never tried to dance before AND by experienced, even professional dancers. DO NOT MISS THE FUN! and remember that on August 9, Festival Preview Day, you can watch Leanne Rinelli’s fabulous Salsa Demo Performance for FREE, and you can participate in the Gavina Gourmet Coffee Tasting for FREE whether you take a class or not. Special note to those new to IDF@SV or new to dance: during the week, 8/10-8/14, there are definitely dance experiences which welcome YOU. The Salsa class welcomes non-dancers as well as those who Salsa even in their sleep. Do you have a lot of dance training but not in the kinds of dance being offered? NO PROBLEM. You are welcome in all the classes. Did you dance years ago but have not danced recently. NO PROBLEM. Come back to dance. Try something new and have a great time. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more news.
Chinese Performing Arts of America–CPAA–invited The Lively Foundation to present a dance in the 1st Silicon Valley Arts Showcase, July 26, 2-3:30 p.m., at CPAA’s International Performing Arts Center, 6148 Bollinger Road, San Jose. It is an honor and very exciting to be included. Four beautiful dancers will perform Face to Face, a dance choreographed by Leslie Friedman for the Adagio for English Horn & Strings by Mozart. A wonderful group of dancers has been rehearsing the dance every day; now, the performance is about to begin! The program will include both Chinese and Western music and dance. At the same site, there is also an exhibition of painting and calligraphy which opens July 25. Pictures: In rehearsal at the Mountain View Masonic Center, Mountain View, CA, onstage, L to R: Natalie Duong, Katy Walter, Laila Waheed, Leelianna Fezli; standing, L to R: Leelianna Fezli, Laila Waheed, Natalie Duong, Katy Walter.
Get a taste of the many flavors of the International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley. Come to the Festival Preview at the Mountain View Masonic Center, 890 Church St, Mtn. View, CA. Events run from noon to whenever the wonderful Gavina Gourmet Coffee company runs out of aromatic, smooth, delicious coffee for their FREE coffee tasting. Coffee Tasting begins promptly at 4 p.m. The Lively Foundation is proud to have Gavina as a Lead Sponsor of IDF@SV 2015.
Sample a dance class! Go ahead, just give it a try. You will have so much fun doing it. The Festival Preview offers a drop in class in Dunham Technique (Afro-Haitian) dance, noon-1:15 p.m., taught by Leslie Arbogast, a dancer with national recognition as a leader in Dunham Dance. Mixed levels, beginners-pros welcome. It’s great to find out how many parts of your body can move!
Or, try the Cuban Salsa, 1:30-2:45 p.m., taught by Leanne Rinelli. It’s rhythmic, fun, sensual. No partner is necessary. Any level, beginner and up. Ms Rinelli studied Cuban dance and music in Havana. You will have a blast trying this class.
OR, do not take a class at all! You are still welcome to attend the FREE Salsa Demo Performance AND the FREE GAVINA COFFEE TASTING. What a great day! Leanne Rinelli leads the Salsa performance. This is going to inspire you to spend the next 5 days coming to dance class. You will not want to sit still when you feel that rhythm in you. When was the last time you felt so great as you really are? Here’s the schedule for the Festival Preview. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Dunham class is Noon-1:15 p.m.; Salsa class is 1:30-2:45 p.m.; Salsa Demo begins at 3:15; Gavina Gourmet Coffee Tasting begins at 4 p.m. Come for the whole day or pick your events; a fabulous time is waiting for you! For information: email@example.com or call 650/969-4110. Costs for classes: Mention this Livelyblog post get half price; register for the Festival; get half price. Full price: $25/$36.
Here it is: the class schedule for your most wonderful dancing week. Please note: (1) there are differences day to day, especially MWF schedules compared to Tues & Thursday, and (2) there are two venues, our Headquarters at the Mountain View Masonic Center, and the nearby Pacific Ballet Academy, 1095 Wright Ave., Mountain View.
MONDAY and WEDNESDAY
10:30 am- 12:00 Classical Chinese for Adults meets at Mtn. View Masonic Center 12:00 - 1:30 Classical Chinese ages 12-14 meets at Mtn. View Masonic Center 1:30 - 3:00 Contemporary Dance meets at the Mtn. View Masonic Center 3:15 - 4:45 Salsa meets at the Mtn. View Masonic Center 6:00 pm - 7:30 Choreo-cubator© meets at the Pacific Ballet Academy 7:30 pm - 9:00 Dunham Technique (Afro-Haitian)meets at the Pacific Ballet Academy
9:00 am -10:30 Contemporary Dance meets at Mtn. View Masonic Center 10:30 -12:00 Classical Chinese for Adults meets at the Mtn. View Masonic Center 12:00 – 1:30 Classical Chinese for ages 12-14 meets at the Mtn. View Masonic Center 1:30 – 3:00 Dunham Technique meets at the Mtn. View Masonic Center 6:00 - 7:30 Choreo-cubator© meets at Mtn. View Masonic Center 7:30 – 9:00 Salsa meets at Mtn. View Masonic Center
9:00 am -10:30 Contemporary Dance meets at Mountain View Masonic Center 10:30 -12:00 Classical Chinese for Adults meets at Mountain View Masonic Center 12:00 – 1:30 Classical Chinese age 12-14 meets at the Mtn. View Masonic Center 1:30 – 3:00 Salsa meets at the Mtn. View Masonic Center 6:00pm - 7:30 Choreo-cubator© meets at Pacific Ballet Academy 7:30 – 9:00 Dunham Technique meets at Pacific Ballet Academy
10:30am -12:00 Classical Chinese for Adults meets at Mountain View Masonic Center 12:00 - 1:30 Classical Chinese age 12-14 meets at Mountain View Masonic Center 1:30 - 3:00 Contemporary Dance meets at Mountain View Masonic Center 3:15 - 4:45 Dunham Technique meets at Pacific Ballet Academy 6:00 - 7:15 Choreo-Cubator© meets at Mountain View Masonic Center 7:30 - 9:00 Salsa meets at Mountain View Masonic Center
The program fees for IDF@SV are set to make the joys of dancing in the Festival accessible to everyone. Full & partial scholarships are available. Deadline for applications is June 30. Here is a list of fees for all classes and events. Early Bird cut off date is July 10, 2015, in all categories. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 650/969-4110.
Full Day of Dance©, 8/15, Prices per class reduce with each added class:
Early Bird: $20 single class/$36 for 2/$48 for 3/$56 for 4/$60 for 5/$72 for 6/$72 for 7 — Regular fee: $25 single class/$40 for 2/$54 for 3/$64 for 4/$75 for 5/$78 for 6/$77 for 7
Part-time enrollment: Single M2F© workshop: $134; Two M2F© workshops: $265.50 Please note that Part-time enrollees are not eligible for scholarships or for Early Bird or other discounts.
Festival Preview, 8/9, offers a Dunham Technique (Afro-Haitian) class and a Salsa Class. Single Class is $25; both classes for $36. For dancers taking all the M2F© workshops either class is $12.50, take both for $25.
Festival Concert, 8/16, General Admission: $15; Over 65 & under 10: $10; Sponsor ticket: $25 guarantees best seats and includes a $10 tax deductible donation.
Payment may be made by check made out to The Lively Foundation and mailed to The Lively Foundation/550 Mountain View Avenue/Mountain View, CA 94041//Walk-ins for Festival Preview or Full Day of Dance© may pay with cash, check or credit card. To pay in advance by credit card: Please go to Lively’s website at www.livelyfoundation.org//on the home page look for Donations in the list of pages above the title “The Lively Foundation”/on the right hand side of the Donations page there is a paypal logo/please follow the directions for DONATIONS on the paypal page so that they will not deduct their service charge. THANK YOU!!!
This is it, the weekend of the perfect storm of San Francisco Bay Area events. It is a harmonic convergence of absolutely everything. The 45th Annual Pride Parade will be the biggest ever, well over 100, 000 people will crowd into the narrow streets of San Francisco to party and parade. The arts of music, personal adornment, and social action will be represented. The party at the end of the parade, around 5 p.m., occupies Civic Center.
In Golden Gate Park: The Turner exhibition is up at the de Young Museum, Alice Radio’s Summerthing brings live music and food trucks from 12-4, the Dunsmuir dance company offers Scottish music and dance from 1 -2:45 (free), and all the usual attractions from the Japanese Tea Garden to the Bison are there for you.
The San Francisco Symphony’s Beethoven Festival offers its final performance of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio with an all-star cast including Nina Stemme in the title role and Alan Held. It will be an inspiring performance. With liberty and fidelity as its noble themes, this opera is more than worth whatever transportation challenges you think you might face. It begins at 7:30 p.m. You will have the treat of mingling with the revelers near by. Celebrate Liberty and Fidelity! Pictured here: Opera star Nina Stemme.
It was a pleasure to see Tradition and Transcendence, the Bharatanatyam concert presented by Sangam Arts, June 22, Palo Alto. The featured artist, Navia Natarajan has so much to offer the dance form in which she excels. A classical Indian dance concert of the Bharatanatyam style follows a certain program form which allows dance followers to compare achievements in rhythm, expression, and grace. Ms Natarajan departed a bit from the usual format by inviting young dancers from four classical Indian styles to open the concert.** All of these were “pure dance,” “Nrittanjali,” which in this case means that the focus was on rhythm and the execution of treasured movements rather than on the telling of a story. The traditional opening number, the Pushpanjali, was performed by Kuchipudi exponents being trained by their Guru Madhuri Kishore; next was Nritta, performed by the Kathak students of Guru Sayali Goswami; Jatiswaram, a Bharatanatyam selection was performed by students whose Guru is Ms Natarajan; the Megh Pallavi was an Odissi selection danced by the students of Guru Ratikant Mohapatra. The closing piece was Euphoria, including all four dance styles. The choreography was by Gurus Niharika Mohanty, Madhuri Kishore, Sayali Goswami, Navia Natarajan. This was a happy way to see that Indian cultural riches are carried into new generations and secure in new homes in California. Congratulations to the Gurus and Sangam Arts for this inventive presentation.
The heart of a Bharatanatyam performance is in the Varnam, a long dance which tells a story, usually a devotional story. Ms Natarajan selected Swami Naan Undhan Adimai. It shows a young girl who grows into a woman whose passion is for Lord Shiva. She seeks to be united with him. While the narrative is touching and related beautifully by Ms Natarajan’s movement and expression, the lasting impression for this viewer was the way she opened up her movement to take on the stage space. With its ancient origins in temple sculptures, classical Indian dance traditionally could be done effectively and beautifully in a small space. In Western classical dances, one is taught that movement through space is the dance more than the pose of even a perfectly balanced arabesque. Navia Natarajan seems to have challenged herself to open up the traditional movement. She has all the qualities of an excellent Bharatanatyam dancer, and she also jumps. Jumping across the stage; now that is something different.The transcendence in her program’s title is the goal of the dance performance. The dancer’s performance should relate to the mind and heart of the onlooker who will be lifted up out of time and space through the dance. It is a big goal, but why not go for transcendence? Dancing is not an idle pass time. All this work is about something. In the audience, this Hedgehog heard impressed onlookers comment on Ms Natarajan’s great energy. Yes, and it is energy with a direction. The transcendence here was also about literally transcending the stage. She is working toward choreographic innovations. Her Amarushataka was an expressive piece set to 7th century poet Amaru’s lyrical work on the mutability of love. The closing work, Agni, reflected three aspects of fire. It matched nritta, pure dance, with profound expression and abstraction with personal feelings. There is tension between Navia Natarajan’s movement exploration and fidelity to classical forms. The tension served to produce drama and passion; all of which drives the dance into the heart, which is exactly where she wants it to go.
**Dancers in the Opening Act – Nrittanjali, Pushpanjali(Kuchipudi), Sravya Cherukuri, Anusha Mannava; Nritta(Kathak), Preet Bhatt, Arshia Gupta, Anupreet Parmer, Anika Bhatnagar, Tanya Goel; Jatiswaram (Bharatanatyam), Divya Shridar, Meera Suresh, Urmila Vudali; Megh Pallavi (Odissi), Akhil Joondeph, Maya Lochana Devalcheruvu;
Pictures: Navia Natarajan
The San Francisco Symphony, led by Music Director & Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, recreated an extraordinary day in music history. On December 22, 1808, at the Theater an der Wien, in Vienna, Beethoven premiered his 6th and 5th symphonies, the Piano Concerto No. 4, Choral Fantasy, movements of his Mass in C major, the aria Ah! Perfido. It was a four hour long concert. The story goes that the evening was a disaster. The musicians were not well prepared to play either symphony. The errors in the Choral Fantasy were so egregious that Beethoven stopped its performance and demanded it begun again. Reports include the continuing disappearance of the audience and that the weather was unusually cold. The SF Symphony recreated the event (the weather in SF being fine) with the Beethoven Marathon, June 20. The Hedgehogs were fortunate to hear the full program but divided into two separate evenings, June 17 and 18. (Previous posts about the June 17th concert and the June 18 performance of the Symphony No. 5 are below.)
MTT opened the June 18 program with Symphony No. 5. The shock and awe (isn’t this a truer way to use those words than their more recent history as a pair?) of the Symphony still occupied our beings when the second half of the program opened with the Sanctus movement from the Mass in C major. It begins with only four measures played by the orchestra and then is sung by the chorus without accompaniment. The San Francisco Symphony Chorus with soloists Nikki Einfeld, soprano; Abigail Nims, mezzo-soprano; Nicholas Phan, tenor, Shenyang, bass-baritone gave us a stellar presentation of the prayer of praise. The Sanctus is also a central Hebrew prayer: Kodosh, Kodosh, Kodosh, Holy, Holy, Holy, Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus; the words, meaning and purpose are the same. The purity of the singers’ voices created a new atmosphere in Davies Hall, peaceful and exalted.
Beethoven was a great pianist as well as a great composer and sought after for his performances. Spontaneous, improvisational “fantasies” were greatly valued by music lovers; Beethoven was a master of this kind of playing. Improvisation disappears as it happens unless a recording device is present. There is some documentation of cadenzas which were written after an improvisation or descriptive writing reporting on the music. Fortunately there is a document of Beethoven’s Fantasy (Opus 77), 1809. This exciting music may be as close as we can get to Beethoven improvising. Performed by Jonathan Biss, the Fantasy was a roller coaster ride of rapidly changing forms and exquisite, high spirited energy. Mr. Biss obviously relished exploring Beethoven’s free ranging imagination. His performance was thrilling.
The Choral Fantasy demonstrates the Beethoven who stretched his arms to encircle the world. It is set to a poem attributed to Christoph Kuffner. It begins, “Ingratiating, lovely, and loving/are the harmonies of our lives,/the sense of beauty brings forth/flowers that bloom forever.” Performed by the SF Symphony; Jonathan Biss, piano; Nikki Einfeld, soprano; Brielle Marina Neilson, mezzo-soprano; Abigail Nims, mezzo-soprano; Nicholas Phan, tenor; Matthew Peterson, baritone; Shenyang, bass-baritone; and the SF Symphony Chorus, it was a musical expression of the triumph of the human spirit. It is propelled by the same joy in life that lifts up Symphony No. 9 and takes us with it. On December 22, 1808, Beethoven himself played the piano. Mr. Biss’s power and expression are his own, but one finds him a grand stand-in for the master. Feeling lighter, more optimistic the audience could depart as though at the beginning of things instead of an ending. The SF Symphony fulfilled the Choral Fantasy‘s promise: “When music’s magic exerts its power/and words speak consecration,/something wonderful takes shape…”
Pictures: top: Beethoven; Michael Tilson Thomas; Jonathan Biss
There it is on the program: Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Opus 67, by Beethoven. You know it, don’t you? There’s the image of Winston Churchill holding his hand signaling “V for Victory.” If you are not old enough to recognize that elderly gentleman, you might be old enough to recall this symphony providing a theme song for the Huntley-Brinkley TV news. Maybe you are lucky if those visual images do not cloud your ability to hear the music. Is it possible to hear this music? It was sent into space so that the ETs of a distant universe could know who we humans are. For this writer, it is necessary to admit to not having heard this music for a very long time. In fact, it is impossible to remember the last time. That is good luck because listening to this music as though for the first time, one realizes that it is forever new. What was Ludwig Van Beethoven thinking while creating this symphony? One can only be sure that he was not trying to walk in the shoes of any other composer or to meet the expectations of the average Viennese concert-goer.
The spectacular performance by the San Francisco Symphony, June 18, took my breath away. It opened the mind and heart to new experiences and perceptions. It was so startling that it was necessary to hear it again before attempting to write this post. Fortunately, the SFS, Michael Tilson Thomas conducting, did record their performance of the 5th Symphony. It is available on CD from SFS Media. The instantly recognizable opening three short and one long sound happens abruptly and violently. It is there on top of you without invitation or introduction. A lengthened, suspended note does not provide relief; it is suspended on a precipice of the unknown which is coming next. Repetitions make this theme seem almost normal, but it returns to threaten, provoking anxiety. A distant lyrical voice calls and disappears. The martial sounds are resolutely marching forward regardless of any misgivings. The force will not stop for us to reconsider. The Andante con moto, second movement, seems like it will be gentler. One hopes to catch one’s breath and disregard the threat in the first movement, the Allegro con brio. That is not to be. The horns sound what might be a royal processional. The king, however, pays no heed to those he marches past or marches on. The quiet music intimates that something is going on behind a curtain. A tune appears with rushing notes, perhaps it carries a message, but the big, slow king returns. Again, welling up like a spring of fresh water a tune comes back. One hears a tiny, distant pipe. It sounds like a far off hope viewed through a window. And yet, the drums and horns take over. The music makes an effort at drawing itself up and then slides down again. The ominous, persistent walking, marching sounds limp back from a war and hurry onward. Suddenly, a quiet plea in a song that picks up the rhythm and sounds so modern; was this really written in 1808 and not 2008? The tiny pipe returns, and the orchestra repeats and repeats and repeats. Just when one’s ear expects the repeats to round out and balance, the movement ends on the upward sound without finishing what was anticipated. The third movement, Allegro (attacca) is the short scherzo on which the life of this symphony turns. It is the first cousin of the the first movement. Its struggles climb over the trenches of fear while multitudes of demons circle. They are relentless. They would be comic if they were not so dangerous. Beethoven gives us odd silences which are not at all restful rests. The many ranks of demons, low to the ground, creep and bounce forward toward us all. In the final Allegro, all changes. There is a dim sound which spirals up to become very loud, and, finally, one is there with the flag of humanity on a hilltop. It is a victory that took so many losses to achieve, and still it is a victory. The struggle is still there in the victory. Just when we think we’ve made it and the fight is done, the swarms of demons encircle our little hill. They are back. There are repeatedly repeated threats, and we are here. The music declares that we are here. We must keep climbing. We cannot relax, but there is melody for our surprising win, our survival. Elements of the orchestra take turns to weigh in on this. The melody almost rocks us and embraces us. It is sustained, and it sustains us. The quiet horn and the piccolo, whistling like a bird, dance on top of it all. All the instruments are rushing like too many clowns pouring out of a tiny coach; all of the themes are rising, and it ends with music that does not sound like an end.
It is wonderful to have the experience of the 5th symphony in a hall with perhaps 2000 others living it together. And yet, there is also the experience of hearing it when alone so that one can release any inhibitions and spontaneously weep when weeping happens or stand with both arms reaching up or try to run, laughing, with the clowns.
The SFSymphony’s program on June 18 included three more Beethoven works including solo piano performed by Jonathan Biss and two choral works. Please watch this space for the Hedgehog Highlight about those performances. They were too wonderful to go unsung, and the Hedgehog tries to keep posts to lengths manageable for Hedgehogs.
The San Francisco Symphony will perform Symphony No. 5 again, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, June 27, on a program with Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.23, and String Quartet in E-flat maj. Op. 74. On June 30, the SFS will perform Symphony No. 5, conducted by Edwin Outwater, on a program with Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan & Ludmila, and pianist Garrick Ohlsson performing Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 with the SFS. The Beethoven Festival also presents Beethoven’s only opera, FIDELIO, June 25, 26, & 28. For tickets and information: sfsymphony.org or call 415/864-6000 or visit the box office at Davies Symphony Hall, Grove St. between Van Ness & Franklin.
IDF@SV, 2015, the fourth season of this amazing, unique festival, opens August 9. Please take a look at the program dates below. You won’t want to miss your opportunity to dance, perform, create, watch and enjoy great dance. All events and classes at the Mountain View Masonic Center, 890 Church St., Mountain View, CA, 94041. Accessible building. Free parking.
FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Sunday, AUGUST 9, Features 2 drop-in classes, Afro-Haitian/Dunham Technique, and Cuban Salsa. No partner needed. FREE COFFEE TASTING PRESENTED BY GAVINA GOURMET COFFEE, FREE SALSA PERFORMANCE LED BY SENSUOUS, FABULOUS SALSA-ISTA, LEANNE RINELLI.
M2F© INTENSIVE WORKSHOPS: MON-FRI, AUGUST 10-14, practice technique & learn repertory in Classical Chinese Dance, Contemporary Dance, Cuban Salsa, Afro-Haitian/Dunham Tech, and the all new Choreo-Cubator© which is your opportunity to create or polish your own dance. Classical Chinese Dance is offered in two classes: one for ages 12-14, one for mid-teens to any adult age. M2F© workshops are best for intermediate to advanced/professional dancers. You might be advanced in contemporary but a newbie in Chinese, that’s fine. Choreo-Cubator© dancers show their work on Aug. 14, 6 p.m.
FULL DAY OF DANCE©: Saturday, Aug. 15, The Original, Wonderful Full Day offers 7 open master classes. All are mixed levels. Take something you love; try something new. Classes start at 9 a.m.; end at 5 p.m. Take one or more. Best Deal & Most Fun: take them all. Price per class reduces with each added class. Afro-Haitian/Dunham, Leslie Arbogast; Tap, Audreyanne Covarrubias; Classical Chinese Dance, Ann Woo; Pilates mat, Amity Johnson; Contemporary, Leslie Friedman; Cuban Salsa, Leanne Rinelli; Line Dances, Etta Walton. No partners needed for Lines or Salsa. Please bring a mat or big towel for Pilates, tap shoes preferable for tap class. Ages 15- any age adult.
FESTIVAL CONCERT! Sunday, August 16, 3 p.m.,The Gala Celebration of Dance, Premiere Works & Guest Artists. Performances & Choreography by our Nationally & Internationally Acclaimed Artists: Leslie Arbogast, Audreyanne Covarrubias, Leslie Friedman, Leanne Rinelli, Etta Walton, Ann Woo, and The Festival Dancers. Complimentary refreshments. Open Seating. Tickets: $15 general/$10 over 65 or under 10/$25 Sponsor: best seats & $10 is a tax deductible donation.
For information & reservations, contact email@example.com or call 650/969-4110 follow IDF@SV on facebook/international dance festival silicon valley & facebook/The Lively Foundation see more details on prices and programs here on the Livelyblog http://www.livelyfoundation.org/wordpress/?=cat2
Pictures: at top: Leslie Friedman (L); Leslie Arbogast (R); middle head shot, Etta Walton; bottom, Leanne Rinelli.