“Dancing in the Streets”.
As a young kid growing up in New York City, my early exposure to rock music was through living in my neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen. It was classical and Broadway music that filled my young ears at home as my parents were in the theatre; my stepfather, an opera singer who had switched to Broadway, and my mother, a dancer who had done it all from classical ballets to celebrity variety television shows of the era had exposed me to many forms of music.
But, It was the Teenagers and my sitters hanging out on their stoops, and in Central Park, playing 45’s on their record players or blasting their radios that introduced me and made me aware of the wonderful melodies, rhythms, and lyrics of rock music of the 60’s.
As I grew up, so did the music. I’ve chosen to explore that interesting time when Rock’n’Roll went from an expression of “Feeling Groovy” to a more socially conscious “Ball of Confusion.” To this end, I chose the late 1960’s when the change happened.
The piece presented many interesting obstacles. In the first half of the Ballet, the more sophomoric tunes were all under three minutes and always faded out so that the radio Disc Jockeys could fade from one song to another. As Rock Artists and the population at large became more socially conscious the format changed. LP (Long Playing) records became all the rage an eight minute song was not a big deal.
Also picking popular songs that would work for my contemporary ballet company, while at the same time not leaving out any of the enormous variety of artist was a daunting task. Like a director editing a film, you have to make choices and hope you are still true to your vision or narrative. I believe we have succeeded.
Please enjoy Ballet Fleming’s first offering of our 2012-2013 season “Dancing in the Streets!”- The songs from my childhood.
Christopher Fleming – The Traveling Ballet Master