BLAST! is the American contribution to the music-in-motion movement pioneered by Stomp and Riverdance. As the winner of the 2001 Tony Award for Best Theatrical Event, BLAST! opens at Detroit”s Fox Theater tonight and continues through Sunday. The show is returning to the Fox Theater on its extensive open-ended tour of North America.

Paul Wong
Forget the tree … be a blade of grass … and remember to breathe.<br><br>Courtesy of Olympia Entertainment

BLAST! is a celebration of movement and music. The high-energy performance blends brass and percussion with dramatic choreography, brilliant lighting and special effects to create a new genre of performance. The performers dance, twirl and toss objects and props in a precisely synchronized counterpoint to the music. Jim Mason, artistic director, describes BLAST! as “almost like a “Disneyesque” animation, only the animation comes to life with real people playing the music and interpreting it visually.”

Drawn from classical, symphonic, Broadway, world and popular compositions, the brass music includes Maurice Ravel”s “Bolero” and other works by Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Don Ellis.

According to Mason, he chose to combine music and movement in a theatrical performance because “it”s difficult to imagine music without motion.” The synergy between these two art forms is what makes BLAST! wonderful and putting them together in a theatrical setting puts it over the top.”

BLAST! uses a novel art form evolved from the showmanship of outdoor pageantry. The genre evolved from the drum corps Star of Indiana, which was founded in 1984 in Bloomington, Ind. to benefit young people in music education. Mason, the founding director of Star of Indiana, is a lifelong veteran of drum and bugle corps and other musical activities.

Since its birth, Star of Indiana improved each year until it became the world champion drum corp in 1991. Star”s performances revolutionized the world of drum corps, bringing an ever more sophisticated sense of musicianship, exciting showmanship and dynamic choreography to the genre of outdoor pageantry.

Since 1993, Mason has been shaping the evolution of Star of Indiana from a competitive 128-member drum corps, to a theatrical show which brings the power, passion and precision of outdoor pageantry to the stage in a musical performance.

BLAST!”s touring group consists of 48 dancers, singers and musicians largely in their early-20s, drawn from the world of outdoor pageantry all across North America. There are over 40 world titles held by BLAST! cast members who comprise the three sections, which include the brass, percussion and visual ensembles. In fact, the average cast member was 11-years-old when they first began learning the primary role that they perform with BLAST!.

The physical and musical demands of the production require that the performers be highly trained athletes as well as world-class musicians. Rehearsing through heat, cold, dust and rain, they produce thrilling performances where athleticism, musical talent, movement and showmanship merge into an art form that is both compelling and entertaining. The brass players, even those carrying the heaviest instruments, move like dancers. The visual ensemble not only dances, but twirls, throws and catches flags, light sticks, batons and sabers.

For more information call the Olympia Entertainment event hotline at (313) 471-6611, or visit the Olympia Entertainment Web site, OlympiaEntertainment.com.

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