The San Diego community never ceases its artistic combustion of music and cultural arts! It was a balmy 75-degree day this San Diego winter(sarcasm), and a group of friends wanted to start off their long-weekend with artistic mental stimulation. It's not a typical weekend where we usually kick it off with after-work libation, but what happens to be in town at the Jacobs Music Center is a show called, BALLROOM WITH A TWIST. What is BALLROOM WITH A TWIST? Well, I could tell you now, but then you wouldn't read the rest of my post, so you'll just have to follow along.
We parked at the top of 7th and Ash and descended downhill towards B street. The Jacobs Music Center Entrance can be found on 7th Ave and in the middle of A Street and B street as well as the entrance to Symphony Towers on B street. We got to the music center a little early, so we decided to venture around the neighborhood to grab a quick bite and a drink before the show.
After a quick bite and libations with friends, we headed back to the Jacobs Music Center. You can tell as soon as you walk in, that great things are about to happen at the music center. It's currently undergoing renovations and there also seems to be a cafe that's soon to be opened. "The show must go on," a saying you've heard before, embodies the music center's faithfulness to San Diego's arts and music community (as well as a busy 2014 schedule), they faithfully remain open during renovations.
Upon entering inside, you're welcomed with a loud burst of commotion from the crowd. It appears to be that the symphony has some of their renovations already completed. The lobby has received a well-deserved face lift. The patrons are lined up at the newly renovated bar for cocktails and wine. Buzzing in the crowd are conversations of what the 'twist' would be in this show, and also all the changes happening with the Symphony. We finished our drink and headed inside with the crowd as it nears show time.
Have you seen the inside of the Jacobs Music Center before? If you haven't, then now you have (at least in pictures). If you're not familiar with the history of The Jacobs Music Center Copley Symphony Hall, it was originally the Fox Theater (built in 1929). There's a huge 50,000 pipe organ that is built into the five walled chambers of the theatre. The interior design is an essence of the French Renaissance period. The Symphony Towers surrounding the music center is actually built around the shell of the old Fox Theater. I used to work at the building, and you can't hear the symphony at all and the symphony can't hear the cars in the parking garage, or the businessmen around either.
The lights started to dim and we had to turn our cell phones off. The Jacobs Music Center was nice enough to send 2-3 of their most favorite photos of Ballroom With a Twist to share. The Symphony sat proudly in the rear stage and amazingly added musical life to the physical movements of the dancers on stage. I can't quite describe the site and how amazing this production was. There was Tango, Cha-Cha, Waltz, Foxtrot, Rumba and at one point I was Jiving and standing up doing the Samba! What an awesome experience.
The dancers were beautifully choreographed by Dancing with the Stars’ Emmy®-nominated Louis van Amstel. He came up with this amazing idea of mixing the dancers from Dancing with the Stars' and So You Think You Can Dance with two singers from American Idol, Gina Glocksen and Von Smith! One of my favorite performances of the show were from DWTS, Mark Ballas and Peta Murgatroyd!
Here are some snippets of what we saw:
The lady seated right next to us could not sit still. Her feet were dancing along each dance number. We figured she's probably a dance teacher or something. She even kept moving her shoulders during the performance where the Symphony played a ballad and a shirtless dancer came out and b-boyed along the flats and sharps of the music. She added enjoyment to watching the show.
In the middle of the show, there was a Q&A session with Peta and Mark. It was an open session and anyone in the crowd could ask any question they want. We learned that in Dancing with the Stars, the dancers are paired to their celebrity by height or by personality (which is sometimes usually clashing). We also learned from Mark Ballas that Maks Chmerkovskiy can be as Mark describes it, "pranky," that in the Mark's first appearance at DWTS, Maks cup-checked him!
So the evening didn't quite end just yet. You see, we were also attending an event by Encore SDS (Encore San Diego Symphony). It's their newest program for Young Professionals in their 20s and 30s (like us) to stay after the concert to have some drinks and mingle. Of course the age is a mental age, young at heart is very welcome. After the show, we were able to meet all the young-minded attendees who wanted to dance with the cast members and symphony musicians. We even got to share a drink with Mark Ballas and Peta Murgatroyd!
The after-party dance lessons at the Encore SDS event was provided by the San Diego Brazil Carnival. They showed everyone how to dance like the people on stage. It was kind of funny at first, because for a moment it felt like a dance in Junior High. You know, the girls on one side, the guys on the other. Who's gonna ask who to dance first? That feeling quickly went away and we got our dance on. It also helped that the event came with complimentary cocktails, served by the Snake Oil Cocktail Co.'s cocktail architects, which helped scare away the stage fright of dancing in front of people. It was brought'n.