STUNNING, IF A LITTLE SHALLOW
Rock The Ballet
Director: Rasta Thomas
Choreographer: Adriene Canterna-Thomas
Dance captain: Tim Olson
at St James Theatre, Wellington
From 6 Jun 2012 to 10 Jun 2012
Reviewed by Jennifer Shennan, 10 Jun 2012
Well, Rock the Ballet may not rock the ballet, but it certainly rocked the audience. A troupe of six stunningly fit and fine male dancers, and one smiling coquette, sped through almost 30 numbers that drew on a range of dance influences.
Ballet technique is at its most virtuosic, and played for bravura. These guys certainly have a stellar command of all the leaps and turns from the balletic canon, and, as competition award-winning dancers, are in impressive control throughout.
They have the stamina of champion athletes, and the smoothness of hip-hop, lock and pop delivered with lashings of sultry smooch.
There were backing visuals for each item, but strobe lighting revolved to beam at the audience is just a pain in the eyes for a middle-aged dance critic. At least they didn't resort to dry ice. No need. Their dancing is impressive enough without it.
The performance is delivered with such panache as to please anyone with an ounce of goodwill to be entertained. The choreography though is shallow and repetitive, with all the accent on the moves and little on the meaning.
The music is canned, in a range of hits favouring Michael Jackson. He may only be present as a shadow, but his inspiration is undeniable.
One can only wonder what these fellas would do with the characters and roles of a choreographic repertoire that offered more than just the here and how of dancing.
One very funny number, to Maria Callas singing Bizet's Carmen, had each man partnering a blow-up party doll. It's an old cabaret trick but they delivered it wittily well.
I'd love to see these guns dance the killingly slow and sexy sarabandes or chaconnes from the court of Louis XIV. They'd need live music to sort out all the nuances of course, but such choreography would really lower the pulse and raise the temperature.
Michael Jackson was up for it. Why shouldn't they be?
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