Today’s blog post about Theoroi is written by The Schubert Club’s Marketing Intern, Quinn Shadko.
Theoroi is a Schubert Club program attempting to cultivate the next generation of Twin Cities arts audiences. The 30 members of this group (all in their 20s and 30s) attend a “sampler package” of ten performing arts events across the Twin Cities to get a wide variety of cultural experiences. The group then uses social media to share their experiences with their own social network.
The 2015-2016 season started in September 2015 and will conclude in June 2016. The group attends one performance per month.
The Theoroi Arts Ambassadors have now entered into the second half of their 2015-16 season of programming! January and February brought two distinct cultural experiences for the group: chamber music accompanying silent film and a performance of Indian song and dance.
On January 9, Theoroi attended The Schubert Club’s performance of Accordo with Silent Film at the beautiful new Ordway Concert Hall. In the first half of the program, a string quartet performed music to accompany the 1920 silent picture “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. This German horror film featured a crazed doctor who hypnotized a sleepwalker into committing murders, and the music was appropriately dark, distressing, and dissonant. During intermission, the group gathered for a quick private reception. The second half of the program was completely different, as the 1924 silent film “Sherlock, Jr.” was an absurd comedy about the perils of solving crime and young love. We audience members were encouraged to cheer and jeer along with the story, and the energy of the piece was infectious. My favorite part had to be when the members of Accordo pulled out kazoos to accompany a particularly funny scene. The original music for both silent films was composed by the engaging Stephen Prutsman, who also played piano alongside Accordo in the second piece. I had never attended a concert like this one before, and it made for an incredibly effective and singular experience.
On February 19, Theoroi attended Ragamala Dance Company’s They Rose at Dawn at The Cowles Center. This performance focused on the power of women – their different roles, their strengths, and their symbolism. Before the show, the group met with mother and daughter Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, the co-artistic directors of Ragamala Dance. We learned about the origins of the company, its touring history, and the traditions of the music and choreography. We then took part in a series of interactive pre-show board games based on the Indian classic “Snakes and Ladders”. Playing the game was a fun way to connect with and learn about the culture, and it emphasized the role of fate in the unfolding of human lives. The performance itself consisted of three short dance pieces performed solo by Aparna and accompanied by Carnatic instruments and singing. Each choreographed vignette depicted a woman at different points in her life, and although I couldn’t understand the foreign words, Aparna’s spirited and connected dancing communicated everything. With just four musicians, one dancer, and one ornate costume, Ragamala Dance presented an incredibly beautiful evening of storytelling that was both novel and nuanced.
It has been wonderful sharing new experiences and making new friends with the members of Theoroi, and I’m looking forward to attending the remaining four events of the season!