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Sunday, September 13, 2015


(Neville Letard’s Group: Pink Hats. Back row: Jordyn Alford/Dylan Botes; Cindy & Greg Melson; Greame & Kirsty Harpham and Madison Bromfield/Prince Dladla. Front row: Clinton & Carina van de Venter; Michael Beckett/Shelly Dady and Tony Fourie/Katie Dickinson)

An enchanting celebration of the art of dance. (Review by Keith Millar)

Durban’s all-time favourite annual dance extravaganza, the fabulous Shall We Dance, is back in town for its 23rd season, and can be seen at the Playhouse Opera Theatre until September 19.

Presented by the South African Dance Teachers Association the show features a cast of over 80 exciting performers from Durban’s leading dance studios along with a sprinkling of international award-winning professionals.

Styles on display include ballroom, Latin, belly-dance, tap, line-dance, modern and even a touch of ballet. The dancers all show inspiring enthusiasm and commitment, and they illuminate the theatre stage with their exuberant, energetic and talented performances.

The result is a spectacular and awe-inspiring kaleidoscope of movement and sound, sequins and feathers, glitz and glamour, colour and light, and is an enchanting celebration of the art of dance.

The professional dancers who grace the stage in this year’s show include Darren Hammond and Milla Lykke Nielsen who are ranked in the world top 20 for Latin American dance. Joining them are current Danish Ballroom Champions Nicolai Bouet and Anna Shagalina.These couples have exceptional talent, and their dance sequences are wonderfully skilful and classy.

However, the professional dancers who took the audience by storm were South Africa’s own World Champions in Exhibition dance: Gerhard van Rooyen and Amor Kruger. Exhibition dance is a combination of strength, agility, balance and fluidity. Dancers have to have extraordinary gymnastic ability along with great skill in classical dance. Van Rooyen and Kruger tick all these boxes. Their performances are astounding, breath-taking and spectacular. It is easy to understand why they are world champions.

The wide variety of dance sequences presented are beautifully and sensitively choreographed to suit the abilities of all the performers. There were enough moments of high drama, humour, sultry sexiness and excitement to suit all tastes.

Complimenting this is the eclectic choice of music used in the production - everything from light classics to modern hits with some unusual matches which actually work. A perfect example is the belly dance sequence - how they don’t dislocate those hips I will never understand! – set to Meghan Trainor’s. It’s All About That Bass.

The magnificent set designs, with plenty of tinsel, glitter and mirror balls on display, play a large part in the success of the production, as does the exquisite lighting design. The costumes are spectacular. Sometimes quirky and sometimes elegant but always a perfect fit - in both senses of the word.

Direction of Shall We Dance is by industry veterans Neville Letard and Caryl Cusens who have brought their considerable experience to bear to put this exciting festival of dance together. They deserve congratulations for their efforts.

This showcase of dance is unadulterated, uncomplicated, feel-good entertainment. I strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun night out.

Shall We Dance runs in the Playhouse Opera until September 19. Tickets from R75 to R140 can be booked at Computicket ( or 0861 915 8000) – Keith Millar