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Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Seasoned magic makers Neville Letard and Caryl Cuzens have once again come up with an eye-catching success story (Review by Lynne Goodman).

It is no mystery why Shall We Dance (now in its 18th year) continues to draw the crowds . It gives new meaning to the word slick as it follows a tried and true formula with a series of very short, very snappy items high on colour and low on intellectual content. Though most of the 60 plus cast members are amateurs, the directors ensure that it is polished and professional and there is hardly a pointed toe, lip synch. or clicking castanet out of place.

They also ensure that each item is accessible with popular music to back an array of dance forms from tango to tap, not forgetting hip hop and even a salute to the ‘tiekie draai’.

Of course the main attraction is always the professional ballroom dancing and the impact of this does not seem to have been dampened by the avalanche of Strictly Come Dancing and Super Dance attractions on the small screen. This year there’s a specially evocative contrast between the guest performers. Champion ballroom couple from the Cape, Devon Snell and Megan Lottering, offer breathtaking grace and style with skilled assurance in every movement. The glitzy SA South American show dance champions, Thapelo Ramathlape and Nombulelo Hlathi, are sheer dynamite and blow your socks off with their explosive energy. Both couples offer a real treat.

Specially notable among the ensemble numbers is a Spanish interlude from the Young Dancers’ Project choreographed by Penny Lundall and a quartet of Indian dancers from the Manormani Dance Academy. Hip hop artists Selwyn Rautenbach and Clinton Green wow the audience with a Michael Jackson tribute.

Shelley McLean adds her strong vocal appeal, while East Coast Radio Damon Beard is a no-frills compere. British illusionist Ricki Gray has one splendid interlude demonstrating quick costume changes with the help of his boxes.

The costumes are specially spectacular and Dylan Heaton’s ever-changing lighting adds to the easy enjoyment of this one-size-fits-all presentation. It comes right up to date to end with a version of the Diski - South Africa’s official World Cup Soccer dance routine. Such was the enthusiasm of those at the Sunday matinee that everybody stood up and joined in.

Shall We Dance runs until November 8 in the Playhouse Opera. Booking is at Computicket. – Lynne Goodman