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THEATRE REVIEW: Shall We Dance

What's On - Durban

SHALL WE DANCE

DIRECTORS: Caryl Cusens and Neville Letard

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Katherine Anderson and Dylan Botes in Shall We Dance. Picture: Val AdamsonFans of the Hammond brothers surely won't begrudge us another shot of these athletes in action. Picture: Matthew WillmanDarren and Ryan Hammond add some muscle to the naughty Strictly Boys routine in Shall We Dance. Picture: Matthew WillmanDancing brothers Ryan and Darren Hammond turn up the heat in Shall We Dance. Picture: Matthew Willman

CAST: A cast of more than 100 dancers

VENUE: The Playhouse Opera Theatre

UNITL: 17 SeptemberRATING: 4 stars (out of 5)

LATOYA NEWMAN

The 24th annual Shall We Dance annual showcase opened last week at the Playhouse Opera Theatre bringing to local stage a grand and glittering offering of some of the finest local and international dance.

A range of highlights are on offer in the show which features a cast of close to 100 dancers from KZN’s top dance studios and top international award-winning professionals.

Among the latter couples are ballroom dancers Nicolai Bouet from Denmark and Anna Shagalina from the Ukraine who both represent Denmark in the genre of sport dancing. The couple bring a freshness to the genre, adding a touch of drama to their routines. From their first performance to the last the audience is in awe of what they bring to stage and their finely polished skill in ballroom. I particularly enjoyed their performance, Trust in Me, their highly engaging Game of Thrones set.

Another treat are the Latin dance couple for this year, Darren Hammond from South Africa and Milla Lykke Nielsen from Denmark. The duo bring exciting offerings to stage and with Hammond’s professional background in freestyle, contemporary and hip hop; and Lykke Nielsen's in jitterbug, disco and rock n roll - their performance is an eclectic, high energy mix that gets the audience going.

Making their exhibition dance debut at Shall We Dance this year – and doing so with a bang! – is Ryan Hammond (winner of Strictly Come Dancing SA 2013) and Angelique Allison. Incorporating dance and technique with gymnastic elements, the duo's routine requires a lot of trust between partners, particularly from Allison who if flipped and tossed about as the audience is at the edge of their seats in anticipation of the next move.

Kudos to directors Caryl Cusens and Neville Letard for pulling off the mammoth task of putting this production together which not only saw the above mentioned acts bring their classy internationally acclaimed dance performances to local stage, but also weaving together all the performances from the different groups – some of them with dancers from as young as seven and eight years. And not just that – in many of the sets it wasn't just individual dance studios and schools showcasing their best on stage – featuring styles ballroom, Latin, ballet, belly-dance, tap-dance, Irish and modern dance – but also slots in the programme which accomodate a merging of dance genres that are brought together with aplomb and in highly entertaining fashion.

Some examples of this collaborations are the opening sets on the programme - pre and post internal and the closing set, also the Chez Chanel set featuring the Young Dancers' Project and Strictly Ballroom, and of course Darren and Ryan Hammond and Nicolai Bouet in their naughty Strictly Boys routine – which has to be seen to be fully appreciated!

This trio are treat in action together and had the audience literally applauding for more.Every dance studio and school should be proud of their performances which were highly entertaining. Bu special mention must be made of the Young Dancers' Project, The KZN Academy of Celtic Dancers, The Dance Basics Formation Team and the Dance Basics Junior Formation Team.

A cherry on the top of the extravaganza are the amazing costumes and sets which give the show that extra touch of glitz and glamour.Definitely a show to catch while its on!

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