On Friday night an original and sublime occurrence transpired at the New World Center in Miami called “Yoga Night at the New World Symphony!” The inaugural event combined a 30-minute symphonic performance inside the concert hall with a one-hour yoga class outside on a grassy pavilion known as SoundScape Park.
At 7 p.m., the Frank Geary-designed hall was packed beyond its 750 capacity, with standing room only and many dressed in workout clothes. New World provided a “check-in” for yoga mats, an Age of Aquarius coat check, if you will.
After brief introductions, the audience was treated to a brisk 30-minute mini-concert, for which entry was only $2.50, as the New World symphony, conducted by Joshua Gersen, proceeded to captivate the crowd with an engaging, playful, spirited, almost comedic rendition of Rossini’s Overture to The Barber of Seville. After a strong applause, this year’s crop of New World Fellows transitioned into Weber’s Overture to Der Freischütz, a longer, darker, brooding, and more romantic piece, with resounding stages. It really left the crowd wanting more and served as a great teaser for New World sales.
Left with senses completely open, the crowd shuffled through exits, where yoga mats were claimed from the check-in and then set up outside. Close to 500 people stuck around for yoga. It was impressive in scope and quite a visual.
Again, the sound of classical music filled the air through speakers in the SoundScape Park, and a wonderful 60-minute video was projected on the huge wall featuring the colorful, flowery, almost breathing work of Liquid Vistas.
The yoga instructor, Christy Nones McKenzie, from the Standard Hotel, led the class most of the way with gentle asanas. She paralleled the connection between musician and instrument with her body and breathing. That was the theme of the night, the symphony of breath, and it was performed with humble execution, the collateral damage being one of aesthetic crescendo: awareness of both the healing and symphonic arts.
“This was the first time we did it and it was really conceived as a holistic experience, so we were looking to see how it would all work out,” explained Craig Hall, vice president for communications at the New World Symphony. “I think from every aspect it was a success, everyone enjoyed all the components and we will definitely be looking to see how we can do it again.”
It was hard not to be filled with gratitude: a beautiful brisk night, the breeze tinted with the salty body of the Atlantic two blocks away. All this community, under the expansive sky, in juxtaposition to the rest of the city, sandwiched between the sounds of buses blaring down 17th street and the heartbeat of commerce of Lincoln Road; how collective, subtle, and peaceful.
“I thought tonight was epic,” explained Ms. McKenzie. “I thought tonight the Miami yoga community arrived. And we all made it seem so seamless with the art and the music and the weather. I felt like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia.”
–By J.J. Colagrande