LOUD – Percussive Dance Showcase

The Auckland Performing Arts Centre: TAPAC, Auckland

07/10/2007 - 07/10/2007

Tempo Dance Festival 2007

Production Details

Featuring four of the dance forms that emphasise percussive feet. Tap, Flamenco, Irish & Indian will all be juxtaposed in the same programme so we can experience the varying rhythms. Sensational tappers Boyzdance2 will open the programme, then we’ll be taken on an aural & visual journey. Join one of our dance experts in the foyer 15 min prior, for a
pre-programme talk & then a discussion forum after the show.

When: Sun 7 Oct
Where: TAPAC
Time: 5pm / 8pm
Duration: 90 mins including interval
Tickets: $28 Adult / $25 DANZ members
& Groups 8+ / $20 concession
Ticketing: Ticketek / Ph: 0800 842 538 / www.ticketek.co.nz  

Dance ,

A peculiar sandwich of sacred and secular dance

Review by Dr Mark James Hamilton 09th Oct 2007

The packed house buzzed with Tap Dogs and River Dance chat, and soon the bleachers wobbled with jiggling feet.

From darkness comes the rapping of staunch tap shoes. It has a machismo edge. Boyzdance stamp with vim and vigour, their disciplined legs contrasting with the insouciance of their upper bodies and casual aplomb of their sliding entrances. Cutting across this cool are retro crooner tracks, and the dancers’ two tone shoes and multi-coloured slacks.

I want to see what happens when Boyzdance becomes Menzdance. I’d like to see more made of the core group’s bonhomie, because their lively interaction humanises the virtuosity that long cross-training has given them. They have blistering pirouettes.

The Flamenco Journey Dance Group is announced by an insistent knocking. The four women’s dance takes-off when accompanied by their musician in sunglasses. His hands drum the front of a wooden box on which he sits. It makes such an array of tones I wondered if a midi was involved. The dancers’ clap and call as turns are taken to render solos and duos.

I guess it is all “as if” – rather than actual – improvisation, but when they join in a call-and-response dialogue with their lead artist the communication is palpable. Solitary beating heels escalate into looping phrases accelerating to frenzied excess. The women hit a solid state of tremors. How wonderfully the frilled skirts and shawl fringes accentuate their spiralling arm actions and twisting torsos. They oscillate from top to toe.

The Connolly School of Irish Dancing appears in white tabards with silver lame sleeves. They have a uniform hairstyle. I pondered why straight hair would not do, and concluded it might lack the pronounced bounce that throws around their identical ringlets in fascinating counter point motion to their clattering feet.

The locked arms and poker face of Irish dance is alarmingly stern. While there have been many phases of Celtic revival, these traits persist. Even when wielding the additional props of broom handles and ribbon sticks, it seems that Riverdance experimentalism is being now reabsorbed into a more conservative version of cultural heritage.

Brittle taps and knocks fall away as Indian dancer Vivek Kinra‘s bare feet slap and the stage booms back. He enters to the drone of the sruti and sweet lilting flute. He reaches out wide with one long arm and curls it in crescent over his head. Kinra’s geometric pathways trace symmetrical patterns across the floor. With a single gesture he connects the space beyond us and behind him: he reaches out, folds his hand close, and stretches far to the rear. As Kinra climbs through steady gradations of tempo – shivering ankle-bells tinkling – his isolated actions lead my eye from feet to hands to eyes to feet, in fluid cycles. Kinra’s garb – gold ornaments, red and blue silk and antique brocade – make an arresting image when a spotlight flares to capture his final pose. There is always an air of eternal youth to a classical Indian dancer.

In the finale the artists’ differing ways of clapping speak of diverse engagement with rhythm: the cool of style, the duende of heartfelt passion, the flush of national pride, the devotion of a seeker. Loud is a peculiar sandwich of sacred and secular dance and it tasted strange.


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