BATS Theatre, Wellington

12/09/2006 - 16/09/2006

Dance Your Socks Off

Production Details

Choreography Sacha Copland, Yasmine Ganley and Rosanne Christie


Java Dance Company returns to BATS with dance comedy from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Non-stop dance encompasses, flirtatiousness, courtship, domesticity, innuendo, dewy-eyed devotion and a bouncy Doris day optimism. Romance in the 40s, technicolour fantasy in the 50s and the shedding of dresses in the 60s make for a great night.

Java Dance Company’s signature style of high energy dance gets the feet tapping and the shoulders shaking. SNAPSHOTS will put the bounce back into your curls and the spring back into your step.

Season: Tues 12- Sat 16 September
Time: 7pm
Tickets: $15 full price / $12 concession / $10 groups of 8+

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Simon Vincent and Improvisors Greg Ellis, Steve Wrigley
the Java dancers
Tea Ladies (Jean Copland and Kate McGill)
Ila Scott (musician)

Dance , Contemporary dance , Comedy , Dance-theatre , Music ,

Foot-tapping nostalgia + improv

Review by Deirdre Tarrant 20th Sep 2006

This is a rework of material seen before by the vivacious Java Dance Company but this time the production has certainly stepped up with the addition of The Improvisers.

Greg Ellis, Steve Wrigley and Simon Vincent provided humour, narrative and context for this light-hearted look at the 40s,50s and 60s and the three Java dancers were slick, pert and pretty as they danced their way through a series of songs in a sort of Beat-Girls-to-recorded-songs and betty boop style.

The total package was great, from Betty and Jude serving biscuits and tea from a trolley in the foyer to the poem for Marita (a lovely lady in the audience) and the nostalgia of the Peppermint Twist.

The choreography has been made by the three dancers Sacha Copland, Yasmine Ganley and Rosanne Christie and their individual styles and ideas seemed clearer this time round. Ila Scott once again takes on the Vera Lynn role perfectly and her songs help to establish the era. A foot tapping and very polished performance with The Improvisers impromptu banter fitting well alongside the controlled choreography of each song.


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Dancing the decades

Review by John Smythe 13th Sep 2006

Fortunately this fusion performing arts event does not produce confusion: quite the opposite. Combining strong skills, three dancers, two improvisers, one actor and a singer/musician – aided in the foyer and throughout the show by two Tea Ladies (Jean Copland and Kate McGill) – blend and separate variously to dish up a happy hour of jaunty entertainment that tracks the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.

Romance is the key to the 40s. In response to the sad efforts of a naval rating (Simon Vincent) to compose a poem to his beloved, Improvisors Greg Ellis and Steve Wrigley – sporting naval officers’ epaulets and Kiwi accents, so why oh why are they wearing US Navy Ratings’ sailor hats? – draw on audience input to show how easy it is to compose the odd ode.

To Rosanne Christie’s choreography and two Andrews Sisters songs, Yasmine Ganley dances the object of his desire (Vincent has some nice moves too) then is joined by Ganley and Sacha Copland for a synchronised dance routine to ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree’. Languid love meets jitterbug.

Singer Ila Scott’s poignant (if slightly Americanised) rendition of Vera Lynne’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ bridges to the ’50s, characterised by domestic ‘bliss’: Vincent as the get-ahead husband and Sacha Copland as the taken-for-granted goddess/slave wife epitomise the myth with great style – choreography by Ganley, to a trio of Peggy Lee numbers.

Her suburban neurosis is brilliantly held at bay – or exacerbated? – by the arrival of buck-toothed radio star Gath Holloway (Ellis) and appliance inventor Gunter Human (Wrigley), who again turn to the audience for inspiration for the latest labour-saving gadget.

Christie joins Copland for a rubber-gloved duet. This time the musical interlude – Willie Mahon’s ‘I Don’t Know’ – is sung from a disguised electric piano and the good keen Kiwi blokes extol the virtues of Godzone/Manzone/Dogzone, opining it will ever be thus and choking on their pre six-o’clock-swilled beers at the notion it could ever be run by women.

As a tea lady reads excerpts from Eleanor Roosevelt’s Book of Ettiquette’, there is a somewhat psychotic-cum-masochistic quality to the women’s self-slapping. Love is questioned by Doris Day’s ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’ until they suddenly shed their frocks in favour of pedal pushers and the ‘Peppermint Twist’ followed by Dusty Springfield’s ‘In The Midddle of Nowhere’ (getting nowhere with you) – to lively choreography by Sacha Copland.

Whether you tune in for nostalgia or to get a taste of your parents’, grand parents’ or great-grandparents’ lives, this talented ensemble is pretty-well guaranteed to bring you pleasure and make you want to join them for the twisting finale.  


Greg Ellis - The Improvisors September 14th, 2006

For portly genlemen such as ourselves with deceptively big swedes - naval gob hats were the only option! Thanks for a great review and an even better twist John!

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