Acclaimed Harlem composer/violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) presents an ecstatic fusion of music, art and movement in a new evening-length work Symphony for the Dance Floor. The last of a three-part series commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), following DBR’s One Loss Plus (2007, Next Wave) and Darwin’s Meditation for The People of Lincoln (2008, Next Wave), Symphony for the Dance Floor embarks on a four-city tour that revolves around its New York premiere at BAM’s 2011 Next Wave Festival, October 13-15.
Known for bringing audiences to their feet with sonic collages of classical, pop and hip-hop sounds, DBR ushers the concert hall and dance club into the theater with Symphony for the Dance Floor. In an attempt to homogenize all art forms on one stage, it combines exhilarating music, soulful dance, and photographic artistry, all within a theatrical setting, most notably, in the use of on-stage seating. “Symphony for the Dance Floor speaks to an equality between concert hall and dance club traditions,” explains DBR. “Growing up in South Florida, I went to school, I played in the orchestra, I danced in clubs. It was part of the culture and of the times. So to me, they’re all equal.”
Centered around the shrieking, singing, and seduction of DBR’s violin playing, the production is augmented with masterful collaborations including: raw, uncompromising photography and video by Jonathan Mannion (best known for his soul bearing portraits of hip-hop icons Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Mos Def and Eminem); choreography by Millicent Johnnie (former resident choreographer of Urban Bush Women); ebullient live dancing; bombastic laptop/turntable soundscapes; emceeing by actor/rapper Lord Jamar (best known for his role on HBO’s Oz); and the direction of D.J. Mendel (left). “We’ve created a lovely environment for the music, dancing, and audience to all coexist in,” explains DBR. “A composer, a DJ and dancers can have a conversation all under the watchful eye of a photographer. In my world, the last bastion of democracy just might be the concert stage.”
Symphony for the Dance Floor premiered earlier this year at Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium. According to the Phoenix New-Times, “it took on the feel of a dance club as a multitude of colored lights started flashing, the DJ provided a grandiose hip-hop
Check him out on OCT 13-15 at BAM’s Next Wave Festival, BAM Harvey Theater, Brooklyn, NY.
To view Symphony for the Dance Floor video trailer at DBR Music.