BRHS symphony orchestra and ballet classes collaborate for fall performance

Kaitlyn McCaskill, Campus Currents

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The BHS Symphony Orchestra joined the Advanced 1 and 2 Ballet classes to perform four emotional and dramatic pieces for their second annual Fall Collaboration on November 14.

The first piece was “Russian Sailor’s Dance” composed by Reinhold Gliere. The song was fast-paced with upbeat moments mixed with darker dynamics.

“Imagine a really fat Russian sailor who is acting as a pirate and is being really destructive. It’s filled with excitement of his adventures,” said senior Essence Leslie, the cello section leader.

The darker moments were meant to represent the sailor as being drunk and disgusting.

Their next song was “Sarabande” composed by Claude Debussy and arranged by Hellem. The song featured emotions of calmness, but with sadness and quietness. The audience was filled with a sense of Debussy’s grief and dread.

The dancers matched their outfits with the mood of the somber piece.

“We wore all black to go with the dark feel of the music,” said dancer Celia Fishbein.

“Jamaican Rumba” by Arthur Benjamin lightened the mood as it was performed third. It was fast and upbeat like “Russian Sailor’s Dance” and allowed for the audience to imagine that they were relaxing on the island.

“Habanera” composed by Georges Bizet was last and the most dramatic of the four songs. The dancer’s movements were sassy and full of energy as they represented a battle between two sides. They moved boldly across the stage in blue, burgundy, and silver outfits.

The mix of the violin melodies with the sudden crescendos excited both the performers and the audience.

“Having the orchestra play in the back while the ballet members danced to a classic piece was really wonderful,” Leslie said.

The orchestra and ballet dancers only practiced together the day before the performance, running each piece many times to get the timing right. The dancers had been practicing in their classes with a recording since late September.

“We recorded the orchestra playing the songs so we would have somewhat of an idea of how it was going to be for the actual performance,” Fishbein said.
The orchestra rehearsed in class and individually outside of class.

Both the orchestra and ballet members enjoyed working together, even if the orchestra members couldn’t watch the dancers perform.

“We had to make sure that we kept the tempo for the dancers, that we executed all of the musicalities so the dancers could perform really well, so unfortunately we couldn’t watch them,” Leslie said.

Leslie added that it was hard not to look away from her music and watch the ballet members perform.

The next collaboration won’t be until the next school year, but the ballet members have their spring recital next semester. The next orchestra performance will be in the spring as well.

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