DAVID BOWIE declared "Put on your red shoes and dance the blues". Sly Stone exhorted us to simply "dance to the music", while Men Without Hats warned, "'cause if friends don't dance, well if they don't dance, well, they're no friends of mine". The message is clear - dance and music are inextricably linked.
While the interrelation between music and dance seems obvious, classical music - bar ballet - seems almost completely exempt from this rule, being a genre that people sit and listen to, not move to. However Music For Galway is determined to subvert that theory with its 37th programme - Let's Dance - showing how dance music forms have had a profound impact on classical composers.
The programme of events, which was launched in the Portershed on Tuesday evening by the president of the Galway Chamber of Commerce, Maurice O’Gorman, will begin with a dance/music fusion - This Is An Irish Dance, featuring traditional Irish dancer Jean Butler and composer/performer Neil Martin in performance in The Black Box Theatre on Friday September 29 at 8pm.
The tango will be performed and celebrated in Put On Your Red Shoes... in the ballroom of the Hotel Meyrick (Wednesday October 25 ), including a tango lesson, a dance display by Pablo Rodriguez and Jazmin Chiodi, with music by Katherin Hunka, Dermot Dunne, Malachy Robinson, and Conor Linehan, and a performance of music by Piazzolla.
Other dance inspired events will be Daria van den Bercken's dance-inspired solo piano recital; Gwendolyn Masin's dance-inspired violin spectacular; a concert with ConTempo performing music by Beethoven, Villa-Lobos, and Bartók, among others; while the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra returns in April with a terrific programme including Beethoven's beloved Seventh Symphony, described famously by Wagner as "the apotheosis of dance"; and Kilkenny Camerata concludes the season with Piper and the Faerie Queen.
As ever, MFG will hold its annual midwinter festival in January. This year's theme is Beloved and will focus on works composed by composers in love - Brahms, Wagner, Robert and Clara Schumann, Beethoven, Schubert, Janácek, Britten, and Schoenberg, including popular love-inspired arias and duos from opera, two talks by eminent musicologist Richard Wigmore, and the screening of Peter Schamonis Spring Symphony.
MFG will also collaborate with young Irish composer Sam Perkin, and has commissioned solo piano work - a suite of dances - from him, for Nathalia Milstein's recital in February. He will also be working on film scores with film students at the CCAM GMIT as well as performing his piece, 'Pause', with ConTempo. MFG has also started to work on CELLISSIMO, the first edition of the Galway Cello Festival Triennale. There will also be a joint event with Cúirt in Play it Again – an evening with former Guardian editor in chief Alan Rusbridger and MFG artistic director Finghin Collins.
The SAP lunchtime concerts, in partnership with the Arts in Action, take place on the last Wednesday of September, October, November, and the first three months of 2018. The concerts will feature classical, guitar, world and jazz, from Redmond O'Toole, Jane Brazil and Tiffany Qiu, Alex Petcu, among others. The shows are aimed not just at classical audiences, but students, children, and people with intellectual disabilities. A repeat performance of these concerts on the same days will be held at the PorterShed at 6pm, supported by KPMG, DAVY and RDJ. Admission to these shows are free.