When the Berliner Philharmonic sets out to do a music education program, they leave the plastic maracas and tiny triangles behind and call in the professionals. Last year, the Philharmonic brought together 250 school-age children from all walks of life, social classes and ethnic backgrounds, with representation from countries like Nigeria to Iraq, to train with an experienced choreographer and perform Igor Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring). Before joining the program, many of these students had little or no dance experience, and very few had any interest in classical music. Composed in 1913, Stravinsky's piece is a musical choreographic work in two parts written as an ode to pagan dance rituals celebrating the arrival of spring and its primordial creative force. The music runs through the film and becomes a metaphor for what the project aims to do. As choreographer Royston Maldoom explains, "You can change your life in a dance class." Against the feedback of nervous giggles and inchoate chattering, Maldoom keeps his poker face, pushing these students beyond their limits and demanding the discipline and focus of professional artists with no exceptions. Maldoom and orchestra conductor Sir Simon Rattle see this innovative program as a much-needed education reform. Through programs like this they hope to see classical music and dance become more accessible tools for building confidence and encouraging creativity, which they believe is no longer a luxury, but a necessary skill in the 21st century.
Thomas Grube was born in 1971. He studied political science and Eastern European studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, as well as film and television economics, at the College of Film and Television HFF Potsdam-Babelsberg. Since 1993, Grube has produced and directed short films and documentaries. In 1999, with partners Andrea Thilo and Uwe Dierks, he cofounded Boomtownmedia. Grube's films include, Karl Weschke - Myth of A Life (2000), Life In A Soap Opera (2000), Verdi's Falstaf (2001), Placido Domingo Sacred Arias (2002), and Warsaw Express, nominated for best documentary at Deutscher Fernsehpreis 2000. ENRIQUE SÁNCHEZ LANSCH was born in 1963 in Northern Spain. In 1986, after an extensive education in theater and music -- including a career as an opera singer -- Lansch began working in television. He has worked as a director on documentaries about classical music, opera, and ballet. In 1996, he became Creative Producer at Grundy UFA, and later, Supervising Producer in charge of Grundy's daily drama activities. Since 2002, Lansch has worked in Berlin as a director, writer, and producer of fiction projects and documentaries. His films include Le Nozze di Figaro (1993), New Voices (1995), Viol (1995), and Don Giovanni (1996).