There’s permanence to fusion. You shouldn’t be able to see where one element begins and another ends — it’s a whole product with no layers or breaks, just one offering that’s inspired and new. Nothing embodies that fresh and enlightening concept more than Red Bull Flying Bach.
Born in Berlin and inspired by 300 years of popular culture’s changing entertainment landscape, Flying Bach is a touring modern dance performance set to Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier.” It blends classical music with hip-hop, b-boying with ballet all while breaking down barriers of class and cultural expectations.
But before you can go and fully appreciate the majesty of people being able to do way more than you physically imagined possible, you might want to brush up on the origins and players involved. Consider this your Red Bull Flying Bach Starter Kit.
Christoph Hagel — A forward-thinking composer and opera conductor who studied with Leonard Bernstein and traveled the world bringing fresh eyes and ears to classical music. His chance meeting with Vartan Bassil helped bring the dream of Flying Bach to life.
Flying Steps — A longtime b-boy crew out of Berlin. Started in 1993 by Bassil and Kadir Memis (Amigo), the Flying Steps have expanded beyond the pair to become a nine-strong, well-oiled, world champion dancing machine. The team, which has opened their own academy in their hometown as well as toured the globe as part of Flying Bach, now includes Benny Kimoto, Khaled Chaabi (KC-1), Gengis Ademoski (Lil’ Ceng), Stephanie Nguyen (Lil’ Steph), Michael Rosemann (Mikel), Niran (Lil Rock) and Brahim Zaibat.
B-boy — B-boying started on the streets of New York City in the 1970s and quickly took the U.S. by storm. Over the course of the next five decades, b-boying has become a global phenomenon. The use of b-boying instead of ballet within Red Bull Flying Bach is what gives the performance its visual complexity and originality.
Johann Sebastian Bach — (1685–1750) One of the greatest classical composers of all time. A pillar of Baroque music, as well as a brilliant organist, the German master’s prolific output included pieces highlighting innovations in counterpoint, harpsichord and four-part harmony. It’s his fragile and detailed compositions that bring added emotions to every Flying Bach performance.
“The Well-Tempered Clavier” — (1722) Bach’s collection of preludes and fugues created exclusively for a solo keyboard (which included harpsichords, organs and clavichords during Bach’s time). Each key is represented in major and minor form pairs, illustrating the range and power of the pianist’s talent. It continues to be a one- of-a-kind musical compilation and provides the perfect soundtrack to the leaps and contours of the Flying Steps’ choreography.