The Dada Festival Orchestra Concert provides a fitting end to the Dada experience

Under the bright stage lights of the Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center Theater, an introduction speaker was interrupted as he described the spirit of Dada by a lone trumpet player and proceeded to break into a seemingly random play-by-play of an imaginary horse race.

The crowd erupted with laughter and with that, the concluding event of the 2012 Dada Festival was underway.

The Artist-in-Residence Orchestra in combination with the Asheville Symphony held a concert Thursday, Sept. 20 that captured the impulsive nature of the Dada Festival and the true diversity of art.

The mellow-but-optimistic music pieces gave the audience a sense of what art was like post-World War I and the dance routine during the main event described what anti-art is all about.

Aspects of Dada were sprinkled throughout the show, including abstract sounds like sirens playing throughout one of the pieces. But the dance routine, choreographed by Karyn Tomczak, really put the characteristics of Dada on display.

Teasing the pretentiousness of art and those making money off of it in the early 20th century, the performance of the 1917 ballet, “Parade,” featured an American manager, French manager, Chinese conjurer, American girl, a horse and two acrobats.

Tomczak and Susan Brown-Strauss, the costume designer, did a lot of research to modernize the costumes designed by Pablo Picasso in the original production for today’s audience.

“I did not attempt to reproduce Picasso’s fabulous designs but to provide the essence of the costumes and stay true to the character of the originals,” said Brown-Strauss in an email message.

After several bows from the dancers and musicians, an energetic closing piece and a long-lasting final applause from the standing audience, the concert and the festival were over.

Although this was the first time for Western students to experience the festival, according to Christina Reitz, professor of music history, there was a lot for students to take from it such as the integration of arts into politics and other sections of society.

“History and what’s currently going on in the world can have a direct impact on the art,” said Reitz.

Bruce Frazier, Carol Grotnes Belk Endowed Professor of Commercial and Electronic Music and event organizer, hopes students not only enjoyed the festival, but also understood the concepts behind Dada and how it helped pave the way for new art.

“Art is never the same, it is always changing,” said Frazier.

There will be another Fall Arts Festival next year, but the theme will not revolve around Dada. Instead, Western will focus on the art and literature of a different theme. One of the ideas currently being floated around is “The Harlem Renaissance.”