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Saturday, September 13, 2014


(Gerhard and Amor)

Spectacular, glitzy showcase of dance. (Review by Mary Ann Salvage)

The Playhouse Company in association with the SADTA of KZN presented the 22nd Annual Dance Stage Production, Shall We Dance, which was once again very successfully produced and directed by Neville Letard and Caryl Cusens.

The directors pulled out all the stops on this year’s show to create a spectacular, glitzy showcase of dance. It was a well put together mixture of local amateur talent with a fantastic array of South Africa’s very own professional Ballroom, Latin and Exhibition Dancers.

With so many dancers and choreographers involved, it is impossible to name them all. But an up and coming talent in the choreographic field lies in the young Pavishen Paideya, whose tap number Moves Like Jagger proved to have lovely choreographed moves. Another piece which caught my eye was Roxanne with great choreography by Alain Rijnvis. It is no surprise to me that he was nominated for Choreographer of the Year by the Mercury Durban Theatre Awards in 2011.

A touching performance by a male dancer and his lovely partner in a wheelchair, dancing the Rumba, was quite a remarkable sight.

It was also lovely to see the reigning SA Professional Ballroom Champions and former SA Ballroom Classic Show Dance Champions, Penwell Nhlapo and Evelyn Kgole performing five numbers which included a Viennese Waltz, a Quick Step and a slow Fox Trot.

An absolute treat to watch were the dynamic duo of the reigning SA Latin Champions, Grant Esterhuizen and Jeanne Swart, who performed a range of emotionally charged, energetic Latin pieces, the most stunning being the Paso Doble, a rich Spanish style Latin American dance called Malaguena.

The highlight of the whole show was the unbelievable Gerhard and Amor who brought their speciality act for the first time to the Playhouse Stage. The couple shot to stardom after winning the world British Open Exhibition Championships in 2013. They are currently the 4th top adage couple in the world and will be defending their world title at Blackpool in 2015. They wowed the audience with their breathtaking lifts and death-defying leaps with complete trust in one another. The exceptional strength displayed by Gerhard and beautiful control by Amor was something I have never experienced in this country before. One could say a Pas de Deux with a difference.

While it was evident that a whole lot of fun was had by all on stage, I do feel that the directors could perhaps have chosen a bit more wisely on some of the numbers presented and dancers used. There was far too much repetitive choreography done in lines which is tedious to watch. These choreographers need to realise that certain styles of dancing need to be adjusted for theatrical performances.

A change to a MC who could move more elegantly on the stage would perhaps put the finishing touches to this production. Although clearly a favourite with the audience, Damon Beard tried his best but did not do it for me and looked particularly clumsy next to all the dancers on stage.

Overall, Shall we Dance was a magnificent feast to the eyes. “Bravo!” to the Lighting Designers and Technicians who no doubt spent many hours plotting and setting up the lighting and special effects.  Sadly, their names were not featured in the programme.

Shall We Dance finishes today, so hurry as you may still be able to avail yourself of a ticket.  Bookings are at Computicket or at Box Office one hour prior to the performance. - Mary Ann Salvage