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An Orchestral first

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In a first for orchestras, the MSO, e.motion21 and Circa Contemporary Circus collaborate in a night of music and dance under the stars!

On Saturday night 8 February at a Sidney Myer Music Bowl free concert, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra presented the results of a unique two-year collaboration with e.motion21, a not-for-profit organisation working to enhance lives and change perceptions of Down syndrome within society through dance, fitness and performance.

The spectacular Australia-first event featured the sumptuous sounds of the MSO performing Elena Kats-Chernin’s Wild Swans with renowned soprano Katie Noonan.

Behind the scenes of this world premiere performance were lead creatives on the project, Yaron Lifschitz, award-winning Artistic Director, and choreographer Libby McDonnell from Australia’s premier contemporary circus company, Circa.

Leading up to the concert, over 20 rehearsals and workshops were held across Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong with more than 60 dancers from across the state.

The final performance in front of a capacity crowd of over 10,000 featured 44 dancers from metropolitan and regional areas. MSO musicians and conductor Benjamin Northey worked alongside the artistic director and choreographer to create the visual and musical masterpiece on stage.

MSO’s Managing Director, Sophie Galaise said: ‘This was a further step in MSO’s commitment to enable young people with a disability living in Melbourne and regional Victoria to contribute to Australia’s cultural narrative. Congratulations to all who participated in the creation and presentation of this landmark event; it will remain a treasured memory for many, for years to come.’

Cate Sayers, Founder and Director of e.motion21 said: ‘The e.motion21 partnership with the MSO is truly exciting and progressive. We are bringing together two creative worlds and two important organisations in this Australia-first collaboration.

‘e.motion21 is about moving bodies and moving boundaries and working with the MSO provided a space to break down any boundaries regarding how people perceive the arts, and in particular draw attention to our wonderful dancers with Down syndrome.’

Dance, Dance, Dance! featuring the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, conductor Benjamin Northey, e.motion21, Katie Noonan, and Yaron Lifschitz and Libby McDonnell from Circa Contemporary Circus was performed as part of the MSO’s Sidney Myer Free Concert Series presented in association with the University of Melbourne on Saturday 8 February. Watch the full concert here.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

The Sidney Myer Free Concert series is proudly supported by Sidney Myer MSO Trust Fund, in association with ABC Classic, The University of Melbourne and Arts Centre Melbourne.

Circa Contemporary Circus continue their collaboration with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in the MSO’s Season Opening Gala: Beethoven 9, Circa and Cheetham on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 February. Further information can be found here.