Famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach had the makings of a B-BOY. Think headspins, windmills, popping and locking. I never thought the fusion of classical music and the high adrenaline energy of breakdancing would forge the most amazing relationship. Until a few weeks ago. I ran across a social media promotion for Redbull’s Flying Bach and immediately purchased tickets. I have a love for rap and R&B, but my spectrum of music goes way beyond Young Jeezy and Future. As a young girl I played the violin for a short stint, and grew an appreciation for classical pieces. The slow, melancholy feel of the adagios were my favorite and my late great Uncle Johnny introduced me to many compositions that later became my favorites.
The world renowned Flying Steps breakdance team came together with genius Conductor Christoph Hagel to create Red Bull’s Flying Bach. This blend of classical music and urban dance was the most authentic marriage of two cultures. At face value, I would never put the two together. I grew up on the 80s movie Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo and wanted to be part of Ozone’s cool dance crew. That was until I tried a headspin for the first time and almost crushed my spinal cord. Breakdancing was just too cool for words. The artistic expression and the athleticism of someone’s body was truly an art form. I remember watching all the cool guys in middle school breakdancing and everyone would gather around to watch them battle. The dopest part of all this was how it effortlessly brought cultures together. The skateboarders from the upper middle class areas would breakdance with the Hispanic boys from the hood. There was no exclusion. It created a brotherhood where talent recognized talent. This rang true to present day and brought me back to those childhood memories. The Flying Bach was held at the Houston Hobby Center Downtown and the show itself brought a diverse crowd together under one roof. I observed people from all walks of life, cheering in unison for the dancers. I took my 7-year old daughter to expand her horizons and show her something different from last year, when we attended the more traditional Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker. She was amazed at the dancers and enjoyed the ballerina who combined her delicate movements with urban hip hop steps.
The environment was electric that afternoon and we took our seats in the Mezzanine section giving us the perfect vantage point. The show began with a ballerina dancing to a traditional Bach piece. Suddenly, male dancers appeared and took over the stage impressing the crowd with various power moves. The backdrop changed from a pretty soft graphic to paint splattered brick walls and graffiti. The classical pieces transitioned from quick notes streaming from the piano and harpsichord to hip hop 808s with electronic beats. The beauty was in the choreography and how each step was perfectly matched to each note. Pure T A L E N T. Their passion for dance radiated on stage. The Flying Steps is a group of artists from all over the world. Ranging from South Africa to France to Lebanon to Germany and beyond.
The ending of the performance was one of my favorite parts of the show. Once the dancers gave their final bows, hip hop music penetrated our ears as they each got a chance to freestyle. We were cheering and clapping for each dancer as they set in stone why they were world renowned. During the performances, there was a story being told about how two worlds could collide and coexist beautifully. This is something our own culture needs more of. If the arts can bring together people from all walks of life, that should be a testament to the strength and beauty within creativity.
Check out the Flying Steps here.