WARM UP FOR THE
WARM Up For The Olympics, they called it, and warm up we jolly well did - and in grand style.
The Olympic-themed aerobic dance moves we set about learning were specially choreographed by Doncaster-born teacher/choreographer Anna Olejnicki (pictured) working to the sound-track of Bolt from The Blue, a brand new sports-based composition from American Stephen Montague.
To top it all, for our grand finale, a band of six impeccable Ensemble 360 musicians played the piece live as we put all the moves together (or at least tried very hard to.)
We were a motley bunch, ranging from tots to the lithe and youthful, and then our ages went up - and up - and up a bit further. All had lots of fun with this brilliant idea.
Olympic torches were lit first by the magnificent musicians with a rousing, fiery snatch of Carmen, before Anna started teaching us our moves in stages - lots of stages!
We raced, we ran; we stretched and twirled and twisted; we created squares and doughnuts; we even exploded into twinkling stars.
Yes, it was a challenge for both memory and physique, but Anna’s wonderful manner and clear, friendly instruction made it all fun, and mistakes (luckily) really didn’t matter.
With beautiful melodies, gorgeous passages for piano, clarinet, horn, bassoon, oboe and flute, and a wonderful range and change of exciting rhythms and tempi, Bolt From The Blue turned out to be a cracking composition to dance about to.
In the end, it was gold medals for everyone all the way to the finishing line, where we had a final warm-down to Ravel’s haunting and beautiful Pavane.
Keeping fit to classical music (or in some cases, I confess, just cavorting), we found, is highly stimulating at any age.
In fact, as a tiny tot, I used to spend hours leaping round furniture and cushions to music on the wireless, which, in those days, consisted largely of classical snippets like on Classic FM today.
Fortunately mum didn’t realise the music was ‘classical’ or she’d probably have switched it off with a tut as ‘not being for the likes of us.’
I’m glad she didn’t! So many of the tunes I love today are ones I danced to back then.
Bolt from the Blue, plus the Bizet and Ravel and four other pieces with sporty connections, will feature in the concert at Doncaster’s Priory Church on Sat June 16th at 7.30 as Ensemble 360 goes for gold again.
* Eileen Caiger Gray