Armed with an instrumental arsenal including kazoos, slide whistles, drum machines, a virtual big band, and more, Fireworks waltzes, swings, bounces, and rocks through of 700 years of dance music from around the world. Called “the most madly eclectic program of the year” by Alex Ross of The New Yorker, Dance Mix takes the listener on a musical world tour from the rustic peasant dances of the Renaissance to the ambient techno of Aphex Twin, and from the fiery gypsy music of the Balkans to the sultry tangos of Piazzolla.
Though the ways in which we dance vary dramatically, virtually every person on the planet, in every corner of the globe and throughout history, has felt the desire to move to music. From the elegantly flowing motions of the Japanese Noh tradition to the ecstasy of Senegalese Sabar dance, and from the Basse Danse of the Renaissance through the Breaking and Popping of Hip Hop, the urge to dance connects us all despite our cultural, political, and geographic differences. Full of energy and powerful rhythms, music created for dance is some of the world’s most vibrant and exciting. There is, perhaps, no better way to capture the scope of humanity’s rich, multi-faceted musical landscape, and to highlight the relationships that tie together the world’s diverse cultures, than with a celebration of music for dance.
First performed in 2004, Dance Mix was the first Fireworks project to fulfill the ensemble’s raison-d’être: to present an enormous range of musical genres and time periods into a cohesive musical experience with a single, small, stylistically-flexible ensemble. Dance Mix is both a panorama of Western dance music: from the ancient sounds of peasant lutes and viols to opulent Baroque courtly dances, genteel Classical minuets, boisterous Viennese polkas, big band swing rhythms, ‘70s disco, and contemporary techno, and a world tour of dance traditions: from the euphoric rhythms of Africa to the sultry tangos of Argentina, from the exotic sounds of Bombay Bollywood to the expansive serenity of traditional Scandinavian dances, and from the ecstatic gypsy fiddles of Eastern Europe to the steel drums of the Caribbean.