Dance Shows

cantilevered Chinese Fishing NetsCochin or Kochi, is a port city in the Arabian Sea, on the west coast of India in the state of Kerala. The name Kochi translates to "small lagoon" in Mayalam. Mayalam is the local language in Kerala,  derived from Sanskrit and Tamil and is one of 22 official languages of India. It is one of the 85 related Dravidian languages, spoken by 215 million people. Amazing what one learns when going on a ballroom dance cruise!

local fish stallAnyway I signed up for an excursion that featured two highlights - the Chinese Fishing Nets of Cochin, and an introductory demonstration of Kathakali (the classical dance drama of Kerala) and Kalaripayattu, the ancient martial art of Kerala. Check out the links below to my four YouTube videos of these highlights.

Clara and soldiers from the 2010 Goh Ballet Nutcracker. The Nutcracker,
A Goh Ballet Production
Choreographer Anna-Marie Holmes
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Vancouver Opera Orchestra
Conducted by Leslie Dala
The Centre for  Performing Arts
Dec 15 to 18, 2011

Vancouver, BC: The Nutcracker has been a Christmas tradition for ballet companies all over the world for many years.  I remember way back as a child in Cape Town, being enthralled by the music and the fantastic visions on stage. That was an early event that led to my lifelong love of dance. Vancouver's Goh Ballet has established a tradition of its own with this year's show being the third  production of this version of the ballet. It has been a while since I have seen The Nutcracker, but it has lost none of its charm for me.  This production sparkled and I loved every minute of it.

Tiffany Bilodeau & Davin Luce. Photo by Glenna TurnbullMasters' Play
Ballet Kelowna
Roundhouse Community Centre
Sat, Apr 19th, 2010

Vancouver, BC: In an unusual conjunction, this weekend I had the pleasure of seeing two dance shows (instead of two plays  back to back on successive evenings. Friday night's show was the stunning high energy Burn The Floor Ballroom and Latin Dance production at the Vogue Theatre. As a lovely counterpoint, on Saturday night, Ballet Kelowna, a small ballet company with a huge heart performed at the Roundhouse Community Center.

The Ballroom BoysBurn The Floor: FloorPlay
Conceived, Directed and Choreographed by Jason Gilkison
Vogue Theatre
Remaining shows Apr 17, 2 and 8 pm, April 18.

Vancouver, BC:  Last night at the Vogue Theatre I saw  Burn the Floor for the third time in eight months . The show has lost none of its impact from the first two times I saw it  in New York and the dancing- and the singing - is as fantastic as before. They got several standing ovations and deservedly so. Anyone who loves dance should see this show and there are only three performances left  before they head off to Toronto.

We were a group of 8 people with very mixed experience in dance,  that met to go and see  the Friday night performance.  All of us, from the 5 who are simply enthusiastic observers of dance shows, to me - a very late starter in ballroom dance, and my two teachers, who are ex-competitive dancers, were wild about the show. 

The Dirty BoogieEarlier this week I had enjoyed the opportunity to chat to some of the dancers and to Preview the cast dancing in three of the numbers up close, but the energy they generated in the dance studio was nothing compared to that  in the theatre, when magnified by the strong percussive music.  You could power a city with the force of their energy.

Unfortunately I had a very large, tall man  in the seat in front of me with a big head that really blocked my view of the overall  stage, except for two numbers when he sat a little lower in his seat. If it was the first time I saw the show I would have been really upset. 

But as it was, looking around his head,  I found myself focusing less on the spectacle and more objectively on the individual dancing- the various steps that I could identify and the awesome precision of the footwork.

Damion and Rebeca Sugden and ensemble - Tanguera: the sultry tangoForget about your superheroes. Forget about "swifter, higher, stronger". The fittest athletes not to compete in an Olympic Games are performing in Vancouver this week. It's the cast of Burn The Floor, the  dance spectacular that reinvents International Ballroom and Latin Dance in a show that is absolutely riveting.

They are fresh off their Broadway run - where I loved it so much that I saw it twice in two weeks  - see Burn The Floor - New York Theatre.

And guess what,  I already have my ticket for the Vancouver show.

So what's so special about this show? The music will rock you to the core and the percussion rhythms of Georgio Rojas with vocalists Ricky Rojas and Rebecca Tapia will make you want to get up and dance.

The Show Must Go On
by Jérôme Bel

SFU Woodwards and The Dance Centre
Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at SFU
Jan 20 to 23rd, 2010

The Vancouver cast of The  Show Must Go On

I was especially looking forward to going to see this show  because I anticipated that for several reasons it would be a bit of an adventure . Firstly this would be the first production I would see in the new Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre in the Simon Fraser University complex, newly built on the old Woodwards site. As it turned out it is still so new that I was directed by a security man to an entrance to the theatre complex through a gap in the construction fencing that still surrounds much of the area.

The second reason was that instead of driving my car I planned to take the Canada Line up to Waterfront and walk along West Hastings to the theatre, checking out a Salsa Studio on the way. I can just hear the groans of "what's the big deal, taking transit" but I was going by myself to this show, and for me, walking alone late at night in what is not as yet a very desirable part of the city, constitutes an adventure.

Sharna Burgess and Patrick Helm in Burn The Floor at the Longacre Theatre, NY. Photo Mark KitaokaBurn The Floor
Directed and choreographed by Jason Gilkison
Longacre Theater,220 West 48th St., New York
Till January 3rd, 2010

New York, NY:  As a reviewer, I think it important that my readers know the biases and foibles that influence my writing.  So before I write another word about the show itself,  I have two confessions to make.

Number one is that there is no way I can be even remotely objective about this production. I am an unrepentant  ballroom dance addict (doing as well as watching)  and my summary of this show is that  I loved it, loved it, loved it - yup, I really really loved it.

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