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School of Music to Celebrate Viennese Music and Dance

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The Viennese Waltz by Vladimir Pervuninsky

To culminate its yearlong focus on the relationship between music and dance, the Penn State School of Music will host “A Celebration of Viennese Music and Dance,” highlighted by a “A Viennese Ball” at 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, in the HUB-Robeson Center. In the week leading up to the ball, the school will present two lectures/demonstrations on 19th-century dance practices and dance music of 19th-century Vienna. All events are free and open to the public.

From 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, in 114 Theatre Building, Pi Kappa Lambda guest lecturer and dancer Dan Calloway will present “19th-Century Dancing in Vienna: From Scandal to Enduring International Sensation.” Calloway is a dual fellow in the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. His presentation will include discussion and demonstration with particular emphasis on Viennese waltzes and polkas. He will also contrast these historic dance practices with contemporary choreography and movement. Volunteer dancers are encouraged to participate.

From 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 1, in Esber Recital Hall, Penn State Professor of Music Theory Eric McKee will present “Prelude to a Ball: Viennese Music and Dance,” a lecture/demonstration on the dance music of 19th-century Vienna during the School of Music's Common Hour. He will be joined by dancers and a chamber orchestra conducted by Benjamin Firer, School of Music alumnus. Those in attendance will learn about an important but rarely emphasized repertoire of Western art music, and also enjoy a preview of the music and dance that will take place at the Viennese Ball the following evening.

At 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, “A Viennese Ball” will be held in Heritage Hall of the HUB-Robeson Center. The ball is co-sponsored by the Zeta Iota Chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda and the Penn State Ballroom Dance Club. A chamber orchestra of Penn State students, conducted by Firer, will provide the music, consisting mainly of 19th-century Viennese waltzes and polkas. Attendees are encouraged to dress formally and “grand entrances” will be arranged for participating dancers.

These events are generously supported by the Penn State School of Music, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, and Pi Kappa Lambda National. Assistance is provided by the Penn State chapters of Sigma Alpha Iota and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the Penn State Society of Music Theory and Musicology, and the Classical Music Ambassador Leaders.

“A Celebration of Viennese Music and Dance” supports the 2015–16 School of Music theme, “Music and Dance: Exploring Connections Between Two Art Forms,” a yearlong series of performances, classes and presentations that focus on the unique relationship between music and human movement. 

For more information, contact Steve Hopkins, associate professor of music, at soh10@psu.edu.