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Rhythm Is It!

International Premiere

Germany | 100 MINUTES | English, Greek |

RHYTHM IS IT!

When the Berliner Philharmonic sets out to do a music education program, they leave the plastic maracas and tiny triangles behind and call in the professionals. Last year, the Philharmonic brought together 250 school-age children from all walks of life, social classes and ethnic backgrounds, with representation from countries like Nigeria to Iraq, to train with an experienced choreographer and perform Igor Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring). Before joining the program, many of these students had little or no dance experience, and very few had any interest in classical music. Composed in 1913, Stravinsky's piece is a musical choreographic work in two parts written as an ode to pagan dance rituals celebrating the arrival of spring and its primordial creative force. The music runs through the film and becomes a metaphor for what the project aims to do. As choreographer Royston Maldoom explains, "You can change your life in a dance class." Against the feedback of nervous giggles and inchoate chattering, Maldoom keeps his poker face, pushing these students beyond their limits and demanding the discipline and focus of professional artists with no exceptions. Maldoom and orchestra conductor Sir Simon Rattle see this innovative program as a much-needed education reform. Through programs like this they hope to see classical music and dance become more accessible tools for building confidence and encouraging creativity, which they believe is no longer a luxury, but a necessary skill in the 21st century.