Top 10 (+1) Dance/Classical Music Treasures of 2012

In 2012, dance memorably explored profound topics, and classical embraced Charlie Brown and George Washington

<i>Solo Symphony</i>
Solo Symphony (Courtesy of Amitava Sarkar)

1) 'SOLO SYMPHONY' (Forklift Danceworks) A revelation – of the dance at the heart of an orchestral conductor's movements, of Peter Bay's love for his work and courage as an artist, and, through his artistry and that of choreographer Allison Orr, of the Creator as a dancer and musicmaker.

2) 'LIGHT/THE HOLOCAUST & HUMANITY PROJECT' (Ballet Austin)/'THE MATERIALITY OF IMPERMANENCE' (Sharon Marroquin) Performed at the Long Center the same week, both works proved dance's ability to explore weighty issues with power and eloquence. BA's first revival of Stephen Mills' Holocaust meditation affirmed it as his masterpiece. Marroquin's response to her cancer experience profoundly conveyed its terrors, the community it inspired, and her triumph over it.

3) 'HEAVEN/EARTH/ONE' (Blue Lapis Light) Returning to the Long Center's ring, Sally Jacques' company provided even more spectacular visions of the earthly meeting the eternal.

4) AUSTIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND CONSPIRARE Having Peter Bay and Craig Hella Johnson alternate as conductors fascinated, but the reading of Bernstein's Chichester Psalms made heaven ring.

5) MIRÓ STRING QUARTET WITH ANTON NEL (Butler School of Music) Five master musicians playing with such craft and so attuned to one another that they seemed to share one mind.

6) 'A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS' (Austin Chamber Music Center) Hearing Vince Guaraldi's wistful, wonderful score played live, lovingly, by Michelle Schumann – that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

7) 'STRING QUARTET SMACKDOWN' (Golden Hornet Project) A stunt, okay, but one that showcased many exciting new chamber works, all played fabulously by Tosca String Quartet.

8) 'APHRODITE DANCES: ROMEO DRIVE' (VOICE Dance Company) The blending of Gina Patterson's choreography, Chris Hannon's dancing, and wine keeps this tasty riff on Romeo and Juliet lingering.

9) 'APRIL FOOLS' (Tapestry Dance Company) Acia Gray revived lost vaudeville tap routines with jazzy verve and an infectious joy.

10) DVORÂK: 'CELLO CONCERTO IN B MINOR' (Austin Symphony Orchestra) Cellist Bion Tsang as Cyrano, swashing and buckling his way through the robust, romantic score.

11) 'YANKEE BAROQUE' (La Follia Austin Baroque) A welcome history lesson in music from the Revolution that played like a mixtape for George Washington.

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Top 10s 2012, Austin dance, Austin classical music, Forklift Danceworks, Peter Bay, Allison Orr, Ballet Austin, Stephen Mills, Sharon Marroquin, Blue Lapis Light, Sally Jacques, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Conspirare, Craig Hella Johnson, Miró Quartet, Anton Nel, Austin Chamber Music Center, Michelle Schumann, Golden Hornet Project, Tosca String Quartet

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