Dancing into spring with the Holland Symphony Orchestra and 'Rite of Spring'

The Holland Symphony Orchestra will add dance from around the world to the mix with its Classics Discovery: “Dance into Spring” concert.

“There are some exciting dances from around the world,” HSO President and CEO Kay Walvoord says. “People are adventurous and willing to try new things. We need to stretch. We need to stretch our audiences. We need to stretch our musicians. We need to stretch our own selves to listen to different types of music.”

The concert will bring Hope College’s H2 Dance Co. to the stage to join HSO for a staged version of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at the Holland Civic Center Place, 150 W. Eighth Street.  

Tickets ($25 for adults and $5 for students) are available in advance at hollandsymphony.org, and at the door. 
Tickets ($25 for adults and $5 for students) to the Holland Symphony Orchestra's Classics Discovery: “Dance into Spring” concert are available in advance at hollandsymphony.org, and at the door.

The concert will include music from Arturo Marquez, Mexico’s most popular living composer, Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz” from “Sleeping Beauty,” two of Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, and one of Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances.

The concert will culminate with Stravinsky’s monumental “Rite of Spring.” This piece was so groundbreaking that it caused riots at the premiere on May 29, 1913, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. 

The Paris audience consisted of two differing communities — the establishment elites and Bohemians.

“Before the prelude was even completed, a riot had broken out in the audience as some members cried ‘ce n'est pas de l'art’ (this is not art), and others cried ‘révolution’ (revolution).,” according to the program notes by Matt Farmer, co-director of Hope College's H2 Dance Company.

“In today's context, perhaps the Rite of Spring is more necessary than ever,” he says. “When a global pandemic arrives, who is our community? This was the question we all asked ourselves, and this is the question out of which this newest interpretation of The Rite of Spring was born.

H2 Dance Co. is a pre-professional dance company affiliated with the Hope College department of dance. It provides professional dance performance and touring experience to its student company members and engages its audiences through artistically and educationally diverse programs. H2’s repertory spans all areas of dance and seeks to impact its audiences through works that are versatile, dynamic, engaging, and inspiring; ultimately presenting dance that is both accessible and thought provoking. 

The dancers had to lean on each other to accomplish the difficult piece, Farmer says.

"It’s fun to watch a group of dancers find a way to support one another in a manner that is very caring," he says. "Some of the choreography is very challenging. To see them during rehearsal cheering each other on was a delight to watch."

Hope College’s H2 Dance Co. will join the Holland Symphony Orchestra to bring to life Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” this month.
New space

The annual event used to be called the HSO Family Concert. It is now the Classics Discovery Concert in an attempt to draw a wider audience by bringing different elements of the arts together with symphonic music.

The HSO had to look for a new venue when its usual space, Zeeland Public Schools, decided to pause renting out its facilities to outside organizations.

Hope College didn’t have a performance space big enough or available for a Sunday concert, so the HSO turned to the city of Holland’s newly renovated Civic Center Place.

The space has good acoustics and accommodates even more people than the previous space in Zeeland, Walvoord says.

For more information, tickets, or other HSO events, visit hollandsymphony.org.
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