Sunday, July 14, 2013


Essex Dance Theatre at Brentwood Theatre

On the hottest day of the year, a professionally structured year-end presentation from this excellent community dance group.
The opening number set the standard: a sophisticated All That Jazz [Kim Bradshaw] from the seniors, immaculately costumed in black, with elegant gloves. The frocks were a key element in the show, from the baby dinosaurs to the floaty skirts for Down By The River, Jane Ben-Aderet's lovely barefoot interpretation of the Neil Young classic. Sparkly bowlers for Barnum [a lively production number from the Junior Performing Group], flying helmets for Those Magnificent Men, and lovely houris/temple maidens for Nicole Carman's energetic Bollywood routine, one of several good things to come out of this year's Easter course.
Plenty of tap, none of it predictable: Jennifer Lopez Latin tap, kooky Oz tap, Ellington tap. And ballet, too, including a stylish Shall We Dance from the Juniors, Peer Gynt, and La Fille Mal Gardée; no clogs alas, and no Widow. No boys at all, in fact, in this otherwise inclusive company.

Two special treats – choreography from the students, notably Anjali Jayasekera's busy take on Regina Spektor, and several numbers from ex-EDT, now dance graduate, Rhiannon Munson-Hobbs, whose fast, fun Hair, inspired by a yakkety-saxy Amanda Lepore track, filled the stage with chairs and Holy Chic tee-shirts. A brilliant number. And it was Rhiannon's "One", a sure-fire, kick-line showstopper, which brought this superb showcase to an end.

1 comment:

Mary Redman said...

The answer to this group's question, based on their latest annual show, is most certainly and without doubt – YES!
It was an absolute pleasure to see how much this group has improved since I last saw them perform. There is a theory that any group of people who are carrying out a particular action matures and new generations come along, the standard of that group will rise quite naturally of its own accord due to some sort of “herd” memory or effect.
In this case EDT Brentwood is also boosted enormously by its tireless director Jane Ben-Aderet and her team of volunteers. We saw on stage 85 yes 85 confident and talented young dancers from the most delightful of teeniest tots who were coaxed on stage, to the outwardly calm young people getting ready to face the world of dance, whether as a taxing, demanding profession, or as an interesting hobby.
The whole show had a terrific pace that many other groups could learn from, starting as it did on a high note with the entire stage filled with Twenties-style Flappers. Then came the Senior B Team with the infectious rhythms of 5678 followed by the delicious Primary Ballet in Bibbity Bobbity Boo. The ever popular tapdancing in Let's Get Loud from the Grade 5 Tap dancers led into the smallest of all Under 5's Dinosaur Babies.
One of the most impressive pieces with a still, calm centre and delicate costumes came from the Senior A team's Down By the River and Middle Jazz danced their hearts out to Sing, Sing, Sing. Act 1 finished on a high note with a colourful, whirling tribute to Bollywood.
And so the show continued but with no boys at all which is a surprise considering this group takes everyone regardless of previous experience – an open-door policy where every child is welcomed in a positive atmosphere. And there are no fees or auditions! All they need is a commitment to attend rehearsals and offer energy and enthusiasm.
More ballet, tap and jazz followed all performed with natural smiles of enjoyment. Jane Ben-Aderet not only directed the show but made the numerous costumes ranging from the elegant black tutus of the Ballet Seniors to the polished finale nod to A Chorus Line.

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