If It Ain't Baroque

The word baroque came from a Portuguese word for “misshapen pearl,” suggesting a somewhat dour opinion of the era’s heavy musical flourishes, though many of the world’s best-known composers called it their own: Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Telemann. The dances of the age, which included such delights as the quick-tempo canarie, otherwise known as “frog legs” for its little jumps and violent foot-stamping, or the tambourin, which referenced the quick movements of chickens, also swept beyond country dances into the realm of early ballet. Tonight’s premiere performance by the San Francisco Baroque Dance Ensemble might seem incomplete without a dainty minuet, which first became popular in France before spreading to courts throughout Europe. But just as nobles drew upon fashionable influences from abroad, so has our ensemble chosen two dances in Baroque tradition to fuse with classical styles from Bali. Strange masks, rich silks, ornate jewelry, and 3-foot-long bamboo wings would not have been out of place at Louis XIV’s court, though we wonder what they would have made of the mudras.
Sat., Feb. 9, 8 p.m., 2013

 
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