There was no doubting the dedication, blood, sweat and tears that was involved in developing this 21st anniversary production of the Spirit of the Dance phenomena, and in many ways, it succeeded in establishing a pleasing fusion of dance styles from around the world.
Having always been drawn to the lyricism and mythology that underpins the whole concept of Irish dancing, I really enjoyed the opening sequence in a temple shrouded in the mist, with a tolling bell and acolytes, but the abrupt introduction of spangly dressed dancers and a singer miming rather badly to a backing track jarred a little with me, and unfortunately set the tone for the rest of the evening.
The show took the audience through a wide variety of dance styles in very quick succession, all performed with skill and enthusiasm, and some of the fusions were both surprising and very successful. Highlights for me were the Celtic piper introducing five be-kilted male dancers, a truly spectacular blending of stompers with sticks and belly dancers, which worked unbelievably well, and the ending sequence involving traditional tap dancing with bowler hats and a hand clapping routine which was incredibly well performed.
However, there were moments which didn’t quite gel with me, such as the cowgirls in Stetsons and the can can routine…a hackneyed yawn a minute, I’m afraid!
The capacity audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy the whole performance, however, and it certainly was a slick and frenetic show, with professionalism and good technical ability shown by all 15 cast members.
If you love dance for its own sake, then I’m sure you would find this to be a great night out; but if your particular yen is for the heart tugging of traditional Irish dancing, this is probably not the show for you, sadly.
See what else is coming up at The Playhouse, Weston