So I went to see ZooNation Dance Company‘s Some Like It Hip Hop at the Peacock Theatre earlier this month and I was just completely blown away by the moves and the singing. This is how Sadler’s describes the show:
Some Like it Hip Hop, written by ZooNation founder Kate Prince and Felix Harrison, is the company’s first full-length production since the award-winning West End smash hit, Into the Hoods.
With a nod to Billy Wilder’s much loved film and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Some Like it Hip Hop is a comical tale of love, mistaken identity, cross-dressing and revolution; all played out in ZooNation’s trademark style of hip hop, comedy and physical theatre.
Directed by Kate Prince, with original music by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde, the all star cast includes Tommy Franzén (So You Think You Can Dance, Blaze, Goldberg) Lizzie Gough (So You Think You Can Dance, Blaze) and Teneisha Bonner (Into the Hoods, Insane in the Brain, StreetDance 3D, Shoes).
ZooNation Dance Company was founded in 2002 by Kate Prince. In 2006, the company premiered Into the Hoods, which went on to become the longest running dance show the West End has ever seen. In 2010 ZooNation became a Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells, and Kate Prince became an Associate Artist.
Here’s a video to give you a flavour of what the show is about:
Having seen Blaze The Streetdance Sensation, there are a few familiar faces in there including Carlos Neto and Tommy Franzen. Check out some behind the scenes footage:
It’s the last week of Some Like It Hip Hop, so there’s still time to catch it at the Peacock Theatre. It’s on until Saturday 19 November.
It’s all about Osamu Tezuka, who is regarded as the Godfather of Manga. The show heavily features two of his most popular works – Astroboy (which I used to watch on TV as a child) and Buddha. Watch the video below to get an idea of the thinking behind the show, which is part of Sadler’s Wells Out of Asia season:
Here’s how Sadler’s describes the production:
Visionary Japanese manga artist and animator Osamu Tezuka provides the inspiration for internationally renowned choreographer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s brand new work – TeZukA.
Working with an international cast of 10 performers including Daniel Proietto (AfterLight) and long time collaborator Damien Jalet (Babel (words)), three musicians and a calligrapher, Cherkaoui explores Tezuka’s fascinating world – a blend of tradition, science fiction and contemporary reality. Two of Tezuka’s manga stories which are well known in Japanese popular culture – Astro Boy and Buddha – have particularly captured Cherkaoui’s imagination in creating this new work.
TeZukA will feature a specially commissioned score from award-winning composer Nitin Sawhney with lighting and visual design by Willy Cessa and costumes by fashion designer Sasa Kovacevic. Tezuka’s original illustrations will be projected alongside work by video artist Taiki Ueda and calligraphy by Tosui Suzuki. Using the dancers’ movements to trace the physical evolution of Tezuka’s drawings – from a line on a blank page to a single Japanese kanji (letter) to a fully-formed manga character – Cherkaoui will bring the “God of Manga’s” philosophy, drawings and characters to life.
For me the highlights were the music and projections. Needless to say, the dancers had very impressive stamina and were mesmerising to watch. The only thing that I found quite heavy was them talking about bacterial theory… but all in all loved the cross-cultural mix and great to see two of the Shaolin monks from Sutra involved in this production.
Thanks to my fellow dance enthusiasts Eliz and Rhiannon, I got to see Merchants of Bollywood at The Peacock Theatre.
Here’s the story according to the producers:
The story begins in India, in the deserts of Rajasthan, in the temple of Shiva. The Merchant family dynasty holds the responsibility of upholding the ancient traditions of the Kathak dance, the dance of the Gods. Shantilal Merchant is the last in the line of gurus. This tradition is about to die out.
Shantilal was formerly a choreographer in the golden era of India’s great film industry, Bollywood. India was recovering from Partition. Division in the country had ripped the heart and soul of the people apart and Shantilal believed that Cinema could heal the wounds.
Shantilal left when the industry grew commercial and lawless, influenced by western trends and dirty money. Shantilal began his own dance school in the desert, teaching traditional folk dance.
His granddaughter Ayesha left Rajasthan against his wishes to become the reigning queen of choreography of Bollywood films today. She has the Midas touch. They cal her “The Princess of Romance”.
Although they are family, their approach to film choreography could not be further apart.
Shantilal believed that films should change people’s lives. Ayesha believes film should help people escape.
Reality or fantasy – there lies the conflict.
Ayesha’s teenage rebellion against her classical training, in favor of modern western dance styles, was the seed of their fued. The damage seems irreparable. Ayesha resolves to visit Shantilal to make peace.
Her journey takes her to the heart of India – the deserts of Rajasthan and into the arms of her childhood sweetheart Uday. In the temple, the fires are burning low. Her grandfather is dying. There is no one left to continue the family tradition, performing the dance of the Gods.
Ayesha decides to marry Uday, and stay in Rajasthan to run her father’s dance school and maintain the family traditions. But she will run the school her way, in a balance of
old and new. The finale of the show is colourful, thrilling, high-energy fusion of folk, classical, modern, Western and Indian dance forms.
Tears are shed, old wounds are healed, age-old conflict is reconciled in a powerful journey to the sacred heart of dance.
I heard that the story is loosely based on two real-life Bollywood figures: Hiralalji Merchant and his granddaughter Vaibhavi Merchant.
I loved the music, the choreography and the general feel good factor the show gave out!
Already a name in the street dance scene, Flawless made a name for themselves through ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent. I met them in Birmingham when they were promoting the hugely successful Streetdance 3D film. A year on, they have moved on to the stage with their Chase the Dream tour. Having unveiled the show at Edinburgh Fringe; the guys toured around the country and am glad to have seen them at the Peacock Theatre in London. Fellow dance enthusiast Eliz and I thoroughly enjoyed the two-hour high octane show combined with video and theatrics. The tunes are great – I wish I can get a copy of the tracklist!
Eliz and I met Amelia – their lovely manager and the guys (Marlon Wallen, Alan Kabeja, Simon Smith, Paul Samuels, Nathan Kabongo, Leroy Dos Santos, Paul Steadman, Anthony Duncan, Nathan Gordon and Christian Alozie) post show and it was nice to have done the Flawless handshake once again.
Read a review from The Independent and here’s a video as well, which I hope you’ll enjoy.
Good luck with everything guys and looking forward to seeing what you are going to do next!
Dunas, an award-winning production, combines flamenco and contemporary dance featuring two luminaries of the dance world: Spanish flamenco diva Maria Pagés (Autorretrato, La Tirana) and Flemish Moroccan Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Sutra, zero degrees).
The collaborative work between Pagés and Cherkaoui is said to have been:
…inspired by the undulating landscape of sand dunes and is performed to live music composed by Szymon Brzoska and Ruben Lebaniegos. Powerfully hinting at the roots of both artists, the music and choreography unite the fiery passion of Pagés’ classically structured flamenco with Cherkaoui’s modern and eclectic style.
Pagés is known for bringing flamenco to new audiences internationally with her “innovative and technically astonishing style”, while Cherkaoui is one of today’s most prolific contemporary dancers and choreographers. Responsible for some of the most groundbreaking and critically acclaimed pieces of works in the past few years, he has become known for embracing all cultures, languages and forms of expression. Here’s a video to see them in action:
To quote an amusing merchandising shirt I saw on Friday, “real men wear tights”. And certainly, this weekend has been living proof of that after seeing Balletboyz The Talent at Sadler’s Wells and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at Birmingham Hippodrome.
Balletboyz The Talent was created in 2009 by Artistic Directors / Balletboyz founders Michael Nunn and William Trevitt. Handpicking nine young male dancers, who are at the start of their careers, the 2011 tour features a mix of three works choreographed by Russell Maliphant, Paul Roberts and Jarek Ceremek.
The boys are: Taylor Benjamin, Kai Downham, Miguel Esteves, Adam Kirkham, Anthony Middleton, Edward Pearce, Leon Poulton, Matthew Rees and Jesús Sanz. Needless to say, they were brilliant and showed their versatility through the three pieces of work. The short video just before the second piece started was a delight to watch as it gave the audience an insight as to how the nine were chosen and the journey they have taken to deliver Balletboyz The Talent.
Here’s a video to give you an idea of what they did in the 2011 tour:
Then to Birmingham, where I was off to watch The Trocks, another all male dance group. Founded in 1974, The Trocks have earned themselves international acclaim for combining beautiful dance and comedy (they have performed in front of British Royalty you know!). The hilarity of the performers never took away the main focus, which was ballet in which they were absolutely magnificent.
The very grand dames of ballet did Swan Lake Act II/Pas de Deux, Go for Barocco/Raymonda’s Wedding. I wish I could tell you more about the two curtain calls but I don’t want to ruin it if you haven’t seen it, but it just made me cry with laughter especially the final one, which was just totally unexpected! They deserved the standing ovation they got.
From the welcome announcement through to the final bow, everything was just super brilliant, absolutely fantastic and just simply awesome. I better stop there and show you some videos before the hyperbole police arrests me.
There are still a few weeks left of their UK tour, but they’re currently embarking on an international tour until 2012, so there are plenty of chances to catch them wherever you are in the world.
Tonight was my last ditch attempt to catch SHOES, The Musical at London’s Peacock Theatre. This feel good show left me wanting to go shopping straight after, but in all seriousness, there was a copious amount of talent and hard work that went on to the making of that production. Congratulations to Sadler’s Wells for yet another amazing project.
This is what Sadler’s Wells said about it:
After the smash-hit world premiere at Sadler’s Wells, Richard Thomas and Stephen Mear’s fabulously original new show, Shoes, transfers to the Peacock Theatre for a limited eight-week run.
A celebration of one of the greatest passions of the modern age, Shoes is a song and dance spectacular that takes audiences on a journey from the lows of the croc via the agony and ecstasy of the stiletto, to the highs of the platform boot. Fresh from the pen of Richard Thomas (co-creator of Jerry Springer – The Opera) and the feet of top showbiz choreographer Stephen Mear (Sweet Charity, Mary Poppins), Shoes is a wickedly irreverent and affectionate look at the special power this seemingly innocuous item of clothing holds over many a shoe-addict.
Here’s a video to give you an idea of what the audience has said about it and snippets from the show.
I can’t recommend it enough to those who LOVE shoes and dance as much as I do. It was witty, funny and just simply entertaining. There were songs about Uggs, Crocs, Jimmy Choos and Ferragamo to name a few. There was even an Evita-style ode to former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos, who is of course internationally renowned for her rather large shoe collection. The 12 dancers were brilliant as they showcased various dances from contemporary to hip hop through to folk. Needless to say, this was a result of a powerhouse of dance makers involved in the choreography. Also, the four singers plus the live band were absolutely amazing.
For a behind the scenes feature, here’s one from The Telegraph.
The show’s eight-week run is nearly over, so do catch it. It’s on until Sunday, so get booking!
Mesmerising, stunning, breathtaking and wonderful were just some of the words the audience uttered after watching the world premiere of Akram Khan’s much anticipated ensemble work, Vertical Road, which took place at Leicester’s Curve Theatre. A lot commented about the intense and high energy performance from the eight dancers on stage as well as the brilliant music composed by Khan’s long-term collaborator Nitin Sawhney.
In Vertical Road, Khan draws inspiration from universal myths of angels that symbolise ‘ascension’ – the road between the earthly and the spiritual, the vertical road… this piece as he says on the video below, is very mythical.
(Thank you to IDFB for the video)
It was also good to see friends Salah El Brogy and Ahmed Khemis perform on stage. I met them during IDFB 2010 and it was great to see elements of their solo work come alive on stage once again. Both are very strong performers and wish them all the best in their two-year Vertical Road tour. Based on last night’s reception, this production is going to be well-received.
For tour dates, click here.
Director/choreographer: Akram Khan
Composer: Nitin Sawhney
Producer: Curve with ADACH, Sadlers Wells, Theatre de la Ville, Paris, National Arts Centre, Ottawa, and Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona
Eulalia Ayguade Farro, Konstandina Efthymiadou, Salah El Brogy, Ahmed Khemis, Young Jin Kim, Yen-Ching Lin, Andrej Petrovic, Paul Zivkovich
Running time: 1hr 10mins