Written by: Andrew Maisel
Music and Dance – The Next Generation
Southbank Centre, London – Royal Festival Hall
Friday, March 26, 2010
Sound Moves is a two-day event at the Southbank Centre showcasing the talents of over a thousand young musicians and dancers who attend some of the best colleges in London and the South-East. The events and the colleges themselves are supported by the Government’s Music and Dance Scheme (MDS). Apart from the numerous videos featuring clips of students talking about how they had benefited from MDS, this concert brought together all the young artists participating over the weekend for an evening of enjoyable (mostly) pieces (of 8 to 10 minutes each) featuring musicians and dancers, or more often a fusion of the two, in numerous works, some of which were commissioned specially for the show. No stand-out solo turns here. This was about mass participation and a chance to perform before an enthusiastic audience of family and friends.
The ages of the participants ranged from eight to late teens; often children with varying abilities and different stages of developments were mixed together, such as in the mass strings in From the Shtetl by Malcolm Singer (Director of Music at the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music) in which the children played the Jewish-inspired melodies with gusto.
Overall it was the dance elements which impressed more. Royal Ballet School graduate William Bracewell’s elegant setting of Philip Glass’s String Quartet No.2 was gracefully danced by the School’s students as was the Spanish music by Jiminez by the ballet students of the Tring Park School for Performing Arts.
Musically the percussive composition, Reconstructions, by students from numerous colleges, including Aldeburgh Young Musicians and Centre for Young Musicians, stood out for its professionalism and sheer enthusiasm.
Musicians and dancers came together for the highlight of the evening, a collaboration between the dance centre, The Place, and singers from the Junior Guildhall School of Music. Anima combined a cappella singing and contemporary dance moves to stunning effect. In an exuberant evening, it was the best example of the talent being nurtured in our schools and colleges.