Song and Dance

Travel the World's Dance Floors at International Voices Houston's ¡Baila, Baila!

Get ready to tap your toes: The multicultural chorus performs dance rhythms from across the globe this weekend.

By Jeanne Lyons Davis April 26, 2017

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Once again, International Voices Houston strikes a chord in the most diverse city in the U.S. with its new multicultural concert, ¡Baila, Baila!, which celebrates the rhythms, grooves and dance traditions of the world on April 28–29 at the Midtown Arts and Theater Center.

"This choir is a special ensemble made up of singers of more than 35 different nationalities," says Mark Vogel, artist director of IVH, who conducts the 100+ member multicultural chorus. "We feel that we are a perfect reflection of Houston's dynamic cultural diversity."  

¡Baila, Baila! presents a robust program by performing and singing international dance numbers, like Argentine tango, Brazilian samba, Latin American salsa, Middle Eastern raqs sharqi and even a Bollywood number.

"The variety of musical styles is reflected in the variety of instrumentalists that we've put together. Audiences will hear everything from an Irish fiddle to a Caribbean steel drum to a Klezmer clarinet and more," says Vogel. "Our amazing percussionists are the stars of the show for much of this program, but it's our a cappella piece, 'Nyon Nyon' by American composer Jake Runestad, that will perhaps be the most memorable because of its unique vocal percussion and beat-boxing effects."

Vogel shares that IVH, whose ensemble of singers speaks more than 30 different languages, is thrilled to perform one of the most famous works in classical music, Johann Strauss's 1866 "Blue Danube Waltz," noting that most audiences are unaware that Strauss originally wrote his waltzes for a chorus. (When Strauss's choral premiere wasn't well received by audiences, he reworked it into the instrumental piece that we know today.) IVH will perform all five Waltzes in German.

The international choir concludes the concert with the delightful dance number and Bollywood showstopper "Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)," which audiences might recognize from the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. The choral arrangement will feature two percussionists. But, Vogel notes, it wouldn't be a dance program without dancers.

"We'll feature a ballroom dance couple on several pieces throughout the program to waltz, tango, samba and cha-cha. And our Bollywood finale will feature a mesmerizing traditional Bharatanatyam dancer," says Vogel. "Cultures across the globe love to dance, and we truly enjoy the variety of rhythms and grooves that this diverse program offers."

April 28 (sold out) and April 29 at 7 p.m. $25. Midtown Arts and Theater Center (MATCH), 3400 Main St. 713-524-5678.

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¡Baila, Baila!

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Artistic director Mark Vogel conducts an international chorus 100 strong, exploring dance rhythms from across the globe: tango, salsa, waltz and more.