Every Little Step (2008)

November 27, 2011 at 7:04 am | Posted in Dance Review, DVD Review, Film Review, Musical Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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I was hoping to catch this at the annual International Film Festival (in Wellington, New Zealand), but missed it. So I was really happy to find it on DVD.

Every Little Step is a documentary film is about the 2006 revival of the Broadway hit 1975 A Chorus Line.

Inevitable it is also the story of the original cast and production. From watching the DVD, I found out that the original production was based on the stories of the original cast. This documentary film is interleaved with footage from the original show and the dancers/singers/actors trying out for the characters.

Even though you never see very much of the production, singing and dancing is fantastic. These must be some of the best proponents of musical theatre that one might see anywhere.

The documentary does a great job of showing the story behind A Chorus Line, as well as opening a window into the harsh world of a professional dancer. The story is at two levels; everything in this film is at two levels: A Chorus Line is about dancers auditioning for a show (based real stories), while the DVD is about dancers auditioning to play dancers auditioning! The documentary follows some of the hopefuls as they go from the public open auditions to the final call-back.

The audition process is harsh: relentless and in the full glare of everyone. There must be few professions where you go through an eight month long audition process and then endure another eight month rehearsal period before you get to do it ‘for real’.

The documentary interviews members of both the original cast and crew; and the revival cast (and some of their families) and crew. Bob Avian, the director of the revival gives quite a bit of his time to the documentary – and comes across as a genuinely caring for all the dancers he see. Marvin Hamlisch who wrote the original music is also interviewed.

Directors Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern have done a great job.


NZSD Graduation Season 2011

November 18, 2011 at 8:46 am | Posted in Ballet Review, Dance Review, Recital Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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I went to the second night of the New Zealand School of Dance’s 2011 Graduation Season.

The programme was varied and rich; two classical ballet pieces, from choreographers who have a big influence of the Royal New Zealand Ballet; and some cutting edge contemporary dance pieces.

There were two classical pieces: Napoli Divertissements and Emeralds. The former was choreographed by August Bournonville, the latter by George Balanchine; a rare opportunity to see exemplars of two differing classical styles – fast foot movements and a quick tempo versus something lyrical.

The third ballet piece was Company B a contemporary ballet by Paul Taylor. That used classical technique to provide an alternative perspective of the times that spawned the music of the Andrews Sisters. The dead bodies and solemn marching in the background really drove home that young men were dying behind the facade of cheer and longing. Jesse Scales and Jason Carter did a delightful pas de deux to Pennsylvania Polka. Rebekha Duncan danced a memorable saucy solo to Rum and Cola.

The three contemporary dance pieces – Whispers from Pandora’ Box, Recent Bedroom, and Sum – really pushed the boundaries: what is dance ? how much communication is possible in the performance alone (without the context of a title and commentary) ? All of the dancers put their bodies into their performance. In the last two pieces, Gareth Okan really stood out.

The programme alternated the ballet with the contemporary; starting with Bournonville and finishing with Taylor. I found it mentally and emotionally exhausting.

Another well produced production with high technical standards.

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