Wild Wild West: Music, dancing, and chaps

When a symphony and a ballet love each other very, very much, they decide to get together and have a cowboy baby.

When a symphony and a ballet love each other very, very much, they decide to get together and have a cowboy baby.

Thomas Jefferson dreamed about it, John Wayne immortalized it, and Will Smith wrote a largely forgettable song about it in the 90s. It’s the West! The American West! Cowboy hats, lassos, and jangling spurs are part of a distinctly American love affair with, well, America.

Go west, young man, with the Richmond Ballet and the Richmond Symphony as they collaborate on a lively presentation of the West at its finest (that is, when it is portrayed through song and dance) (which is really the finest way anything is presented). This weekend, dancers and musicians come together at the Carpenter Theater, combining the last slots on their Studio Series and Genworth Financial Symphony Pops (respectively).

Wild Wild West features a herd of Western themed pieces, culminating in Aaron Copland’s iconic Rodeo. Wait! Don’t finish that “Oh, Rodeo, the “Beef” theme!” thought. It’s so much more than that. If you can get the images of glistening steaks out of your head for one goshdarn second, you’ll find that Rodeo brings to mind powerful images of the American West. And as the grand finale, the Richmond Ballet will add their own imagery to your internal cache by performing Agnes de Mille’s legendary choreography.

The rest of the program isn’t just Ho Hum, Waiting for Copland, though. It’s got Rossini, Philip Glass, Richard Hayman, and even John Williams–all celebrating the romantic landscape of our manifest destiny. The Ballet will be dancing to Hayman’s Pops Hoe-Down, Glass’s Runaway Horses, and, of course, Beef Song.

Woops, I did it too. Well, why not. We all remember that commercial, and maybe we should just enjoy our shared memory while we watch beautiful people do incredible things with their bodies and hear talented virtuosos coax amazing sounds from their instruments. We’re America, damn it. We’re into beef. And baseball. And cars. And frigging cowboys! Forever cowboys! USA! USA! USA!

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  • Wild Wild West has only three showtimes, Fri. Apr. 27 at 8:00 PM and Sat. Apr. 28 at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
  • Carpenter Theatre at Center Stage, 600 E. Grace St.
  • $18 – $76 (students are $8 with valid ID), available by calling 1-800-514-ETIX, visiting richmondsymphony.com, richmondballet.com, or etix.com. Or stop by the Richmond CenterStage Box Office at 600 E. Grace St.

Photo by: Richmond Ballet

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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