04 June 2011

The Alumni's Verdict

Last Sunday I went to the year-end show of the dance school I formerly attended.
I had no idea what to expect. The reason I originally left the school was because of how sleazy the choreography was becoming (that and I was completely burnt out). I attended two shows after I left, and then it was simply too disgusting to watch. So I had stopped going.
However, my cousin now dances at that school. Her family had originally invited some other people to come watch but they couldn't make it, so they offered me a ticket.
I accepted, albeit with some trepidation. Was it just going to be some kind of organised mosh pit of eroticism?
I was pleasantly surprised. While it wasn't completely clean, it was far better than I expected; indeed, far better than the last show I'd attended four years ago. There was, in the second act, a bit more booty-shaking that I would have liked to see (and of course the standard booty-shorts that accompany such movements), but as a whole it was most definitely a step in the right direction compared to previous years.
As usual, the technical aspect of the dancing was excellent, nearly perfect, as is expected of anyone who dances at that school (I still bear the scars).
I'm not a fan of hip-hop dancing (in fact, as far as I'm concerned it's purely recreational, hardly any performance worth in it whatsoever), but there was one class that actually got a decent workout rather than just running around all over the stage as the other classes did.
However, the technical aspect of the presentation as a whole was severly lacking. This school is quite widely renowned for their polished performances, including lights, music, costumes, and of course the choreography itself. However, while they typically run through the dances almost without stopping, this time there was at least forty-five seconds of dead space in between every single dance. Most of the time they weren't even doing anything -- no setting up props, no one getting into position, nothing. Just -- dead space. The show could have been over a good half hour sooner if they had moved the dances through at their typical pace.

That said, I had a few more 'huh?' moments.
1. What was with the bench? There were multiple dances for which they wasted twenty seconds of our lives to bring on this wicker bench -- which never got used. It just sat there in the corner. The dances would finish and they would waste another twenty seconds of our lives dragging the stupid thing off. What was the point? Did someone pay them to put their stupid bench on the stage, somewhere, anywhere, regardless of whether it actually got used or even noticed by the performers?
Also, if you must include the bench, can't the performers be getting into position while you're dragging the bench into place rather than waiting until the bench was on and had sat there for a while and then coming onstage?

2. Is there a leather shortage that I'm unaware of? No? Then why were all the ballet dancers barefoot? If you're going barefoot, that's modern. Ballet is when you wear either those leather technique shoes or pointe shoes. It's an aesthetic thing, but dance (especially ballet) by nature is aesthetic and laden with unwritten rules. Abide by them.

3. Who was the idiot doing the music splicing? Maybe my passion for music has made me too much of an audiophile, but seriously, there is no possible way you can tack the ending to a completely different song onto the end of 'A Spoonful Of Sugar' and expect people not to notice. Everyone knows that song. Everyone. At least vaguely. And even if they hadn't, everyone would have noticed the splice anyway... 'A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down; In the most delightful way' HACK JOB *ending flourish from a completely different piece*.
Also, what was the point of splicing out the pauses within the song that were only one beat long which not only took out the pauses that were barely noticeable but clipped off the start of the next note? It's a ballet dance to a classical piece. It's supposed to flow. Chopping off the beginning of most of the notes is seizure-inducing, not 'flowy.'
Oh, and if you want to dub in lyrics from a song over a different instrumental piece, make sure you remove the analog noise from the lyric track. That was SO obvious. And really, if you have the skills/know-how/computer software to separate the lyrics from the original song and dub it over another, you have the skills/know-how/computer software to remove the noise from the lyric track. The splices would have been next to imperceptible, even for me.

4. Why why why why why were there freaking speeches in the freaking middle of the freaking act? That's what intermission and the end are for. Not right in the middle. If you need time for the students to change costumes, put that dance that features half the school either at the end of the first act (so they can change during intermission) or the end of the second act. Not right in the middle right before the dance that half of them are in that requires a full hair/costume change. You wouldn't need to fill up the space with a speech that basically is a reading of the program.

5. You could have gotten anyone to play the part of the invalid in the wheelchair. Who was the bonehead who decided that the person who was in the dance directly prior needed to be that patient? I have a news flash for you: the full costume change for that kid took nearly three minutes. We sat in almost pitch darkness for three minutes. I almost walked out at that point. You've been doing this for thirty-five years. You should know better than that.

Aside from those annoyances, it was a fairly decent show, and aside from four or five of the dances, I would have recommended it to anyone if they did repeat performances.


Brittney said...

I'm glad to hear that things are improving at that school. Even two years ago, I saw part of their show and found it really sleezy...Personally, though, it was their extreme perfectionism that made me want to quit. I never felt good enough there and I found it takes a lot out of you to constantly feel that way...

Kate said...

I know, I was really surprised too, especially after what you'd told me about the last show you'd seen.
That was the other reason my mom pulled me out of there... she figured I was getting too stressed and just refused to register me for the next year. Now that I know what a slightly more relaxed school is like I see how exhausting that was, but at the time I didn't notice at all.