Music & dance collaboration at Albright-Knox

May 25, 2017

A blending of dance and music will be presented this evening at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley attended a rehearsal of the Buffalo Chamber Players and Lehrer Dance for their collaborative performance Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. 

Rehearsal with Buffalo Chamber Players & Lehrer dancers for their show at the Albright-Knox.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“We love dancing to live music and it's very difficult to do, because of time, because of space, because of cost, so anytime we have a chance to do it – we dive right in,” stated Jon Lehrer, founder and Artistic director of Lehrer Dance

The Buffalo Chamber Players is the “Ensemble-in-Residence” at the Albright-Knox.  Artistic Director and Founder Janz Castelo, who also plays violin with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, contacted Lehrer to perform with his music group.

“I also play in the BPO, so I’ve seen Lehrer Dance collaborate with the BPO. For years, I’ve been wanting to work with them because I admire the work they do,” remarked Castelo.

“I have a company of nine dancers performing here and so we get creative – it will definitely be something for all the sense,” Lehrer declared.     

Jon Lehrer, founder & artistic director of Lehrer Dance & artistic director & Founder Janz Castelo, Buffalo Chamber players.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

This performance will feature dancers and musicians sharing the Albright-Knox stage. Both Lehrer and Castelo said it is a “true collaboration” and it will be featuring a cellist from the BPO.

“We’re going to be doing Bach’s Cello Suite for solo cello in C-major. Feng Hew, the BPO’s Associate Principal Cellist will be playing it,” said Castelo. “All the movements have dance names. There’s also by Vivaldi – La Folia – which translates to Madness and it’s about ten minutes of theme and variations under the La Folia theme, so the dancing, I think, will reflect some of the madness, I believe,” said Castelo.

Feng Hew, the BPO’s Associate Principal Cellist, at the rehearsal for the performance.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“Well we are definitely trying to bring the Lehrer Dance athleticism and accessibility combined with the artistry of the Bach and Vivaldi and the players. What we’re doing is going back to what they use to do – classically – where you heard about a company like Martha Graham – you knew what they looked like – you knew what they were doing and that’s the route that we are going,” Lehrer explained.

In one of the choreographed pieces, the Lehrer dancers will also be performing along the outer edges of the audience seating.

“What you’re going to see is us really use the space of the Albright-Knox auditorium in a very unique, fun way,” said Lehrer.   

The performance provides a wonderful integration of dance and music in the Albright-Knox setting that celebrates art.  

“I think art is art and great art is great art, whether it is visual, musical or dance and so I think if you appreciate art, I think our audiences like the same thing, so I think it is very important to collaborate like this,” Castelo remarked.   

Outside the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“Absolutely. Every spring we do a collaboration, so whether it is with the BPO, like we did in February, or Irish Classical Theatre or MusicalFare Theatre, Torn Space Theatre, any number of other groups in Buffalo and now Buffalo Chamber, we always pick the spring to collaborate because it allows two things to happen; our audience to get exposed to different cultural forms here in Buffalo and for us to be seen by maybe people who have never seen us before,” described Lehrer.