McKenzie School of Dance
20 July 2011
In preparations for curtain up on Sunday 24 July at the Customs House, I was invited to take a sneak peak at one of the many rehearsals that will be taking place.
In a deathly quiet Customs House theatre (where the show will be taking part on Sunday), the only sound was the manic tech guy (Marty) playing with his buttons, myself, my plus one and Karen McKenzie chatting quietly about what was going to happen in the next couple of hours. Karen explained that a few of the younger members of the school were unable to attend so early (the rehearsal was at 4pm), but the show must go on...and what a show it was..!!!
Beginning way way back in time..it was the rip roaring 40's that got the show on the road, with the older girls in the troupe (the age range of the dancers in the show is between 2 1/2 and 21 yrs) dressed up in the clothes befitting the era, dancing to Glenn Miller's In The Mood. The sound reverberated around the empty auditorium like a tornado. It was certainly a great start from the girl, with very impressive moves. The next couple of songs and routines were from the same era, we got a good look at the younger children doing their stuff, it really reminded me of a field full of spring lambs, jumping and following their mothers. It was fantastic to see the children learning and enjoying themselves so much.
Changing the tempo and the era, on came Elvis's Jailhouse Rock with the girls dressed to kill in prison garb, feeding of each other with styles and passion. The girls carried onto the next set of songs that included Fade Away, Paint it Black and I'm a Believer. Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit came on next, the girls danced away in a tango style but without the rose clenched between their teeth, a really good memorable routine.
Fun ballet was up next with Puppet On A String, tutus at the ready, again I couldn't fault the style and their interpretation. A bit of tap was then thrown into the mix on The who's My Generation, this lead to the finale song of the half, with Blondie's Heart of Glass seeing the girls come off stage and heading to their well deserved half time rest.
The second half soon got under way, with Celebrate and a very colourful Gold by Spandau Ballet with the girls dancing always with smiles on their faces. The highlight of the night for me was Bobby McFerrin's Dont Worry Be Happy, with a routine that will blow your socks off..happy, sad, all rolled together with dancing love.
The consistency of talent continues all through the half, with notable mentions for the routines of It's All So Quiet, Livin Da Vida Loca, and a superb Cry Me A River.
Brilliant dancing from Laura Broomfield, Jade Sanderson (who I will be reviewing soon in the amateur acting production of 42nd Street in Newcastle) and Francesca White.
A great afternoon of not only great dancing, smiles and superb song selection, but of honest toil and hard work..This is one show that is not to be missed..it is going to be hard to get tickets for Sunday's show, but if you can make sure you do.