Last night DanceLife was invited to attend the ED5 International 2009 Graduate Performance. As you would have seen in DanceLife’s Online Guide To Full Time there are quite a few full time dance courses that you can complete, each having a unique offering from course structures to teachers etc. In this competitive market some dance institutions are working that extra bit harder to recruit dancers to fill their courses while with others it’s simply a case of ‘the proof is in the pudding’, and that’s exactly what ED5 demonstrated last night.
Held at the beautiful Parade Theatre at NIDA in Sydney, The Dance and Vocal Major Graduates performed in 20 numbers over the nearly 2 hour show. The first thing I noticed when walking into the theatre was the amount of energy that was in the theatre from the audience. There were many dance industry names floating around from dancers, choreographers and agents, all who looked thrilled to be there and excited to see what ED5 had in store for the show.
The show opened with the vocal graduates performing Astonishing from Little Women, which is always a favourite and a perfect opening song to set the mood of the show. With such a great stage space to work with and some great lighting Jennifer Craddock’s piece ‘Voguelista’ was very effective and sharp using a variety of songs in this piece kept it moving quickly and the audience engaged. The dancers were great in this piece and showcased some of the more ‘technical’ dancers of the group. When I saw that Be My Friend (The Facebook Song) was in Act One I was overly excited as I have literally sat for hours watching the YouTube Video of this song on repeat. The song is written by the new Rodgers and Hammerstein, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Check out the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HODluTccSKY. This was equally as entertaining and I loved the chair choreography. Ryan Mortimer choreographed a strong contemporary piece ‘Bint El Shalabiya’. This truly highlighted the dancers strength and technique and also the fact that physically their bodies were in great shape. One conversation I’ve had quite recently with a colleague is why after a year of dancing full time do some graduates not have toned bodies? While natural body shapes are important you should be toned yet the right advice and education of eating and exercise needs to be included in the course. DanceLife Nutritionist Mia Ballenden takes this branch of the course at ED5. The comedy piece of the night was the second last number in act one ‘All The Good Men Are Gay’. Musical Director Scott Archer and Choreographer Craig Haines did a great job with this piece but the song truly sells itself. The graduates had great fun with this one on stage and the audience were in stiches. A two part funk piece ended act one. The first part (Kronic) of this high energy number was choreographed by 2009 graduate Michael Corbett who was a crowd favourite throughout the night. The dancers truly exploded in this number. It was like they had sucked up a whole lot of adrenaline during the number before and released it all. The second part of the routine (Rockin to the Beat) was choreographed by past ED5 Graduates Jordan Pollard and Mashum Liberta. These two guys used the space extremely well and had some effective choreography.
As the show progressed I got a real sense of what this course is about, versatility. Throughout the first half we saw dancers sing, singers dance and dance the styles of jazz, ballet, contemporary and tap. Although the ballet routine was choreographed well to disguise those that were not so strong it was still a job well done.
Act Two started with Another Op’nin, Another Show. Another great choice that showcased the strengths of the dancers and singers in the group. Katy Avery did an amazing job of ‘Accident Prone’ a great musical theatre piece acted out extremely well. Kate Allnut also did a great job of her song ‘If’ where she shoot then kicked around Richard Adams who did a marvellous job of playing a dead moving person. This girl had a great voice and a very strong stage presence. We then had two numbers from West Side Story, America and Cool. With the show coming out next year this was an appropriate choice. Enza Russo was stand out vocally in America and actually for us throughout most of the night. When it comes to tap routines I tend to zone out as I have a mind that always needs to be continually stimulated. The second last routine of the night was a tap routine to Jai Ho Choreographed by Mitchell Hicks. The costumes in this routine were amazing and the choreography spot on and entertaining. The dance moved very quickly through a number of well structured patterns and well thought out tap steps. By no means am I an expert on Tap but I know what I like and what works on stage. The last number was choreographed by ED5 Director William A Forsythe, ‘Can You Feel It’. The whole audience could definitely feel the energy from the dancers on stage. This routine was a feel good, get up and dance one.
Working with William before, I know he really knows how to bring the best out in a dancer which is usually through a series of blood, sweat and tears. The production on this show was tight and the performers well rehearsed. When full time courses come up in conversations it usually comes to a point where people say “It’s a shame that only a handful from a big group of people will actually get a career in the industry”. I believe the performers future is completely up to them. If you have completed a year long dance course you have a big advantage which you should use to the best of your ability. I encourage any 2009 graduate to keep working at the same level and to push and challenge themselves more than they have before. It’s a lot harder now as you can’t rely on ‘school’ anymore, it’s all in your hands. Make the most of each and every opportunity! Congratulations to all the 2009 graduates of every performing arts course and all the best for the future. Make sure you keep DanceLife updated on what you’re up to.