Review: Chicago Sinfonietta season-opener, with flamenco and tap dance

Posted on: October 7, 2015

The Chicago Sinfonietta’s “first program of the season under director Mei-Ann Chen, heard Monday night at Symphony Center, grafted flamenco and tap dance onto familiar classical orchestral pieces for which far different choreography was originally intended,” writes John von Rhein in Wednesday’s (10/7) Chicago Tribune. “Roberto Sierra’s ‘Fandangos’ was the most obvious candidate for added-on dance, since its steady underlying Spanish rhythms and swirls of pungent color found their natural complement in the poetic flamenco dancing of Wendy Clinard, of the Chicago-based Clinard Dance Theatre. Clinard was joined by fellow flamenco artist Marisela Tapies and the tap dance virtuoso Cartier Williams for a nimbly choreographed excerpt from Borodin’s ‘Polovtsian Dances’ (from ‘Prince Igor’). You would have thought their disparate dance styles would clash, but they were remarkably well-integrated, beautifully done—and they meshed surprisingly well with the orchestra’s blunt vigor.” The concert also included selections from Stravinsky’s 1919 Firebird Suite and William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony, and the complete Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade. “Chicago Sinfonietta is dedicating its season to founder and longtime music director Paul Freeman, who died in July. The organization will celebrate his life and legacy [on] Oct. 17 in Lund Auditorium, Dominican University, River Forest.”

Posted October 7, 2015

Pictured: Tap dancer Cartier Williams with the Chicago Sinfonietta, led by Mei-Ann Chen. Photo by Jasmin Shah