“I would defy anyone to leave the theatre without a smile and a spring in their step”
It is always a thrill to watch contrasting dance styles sharing the same stage. ‘Beats on Pointe’, from company Masters of Choreography, offers this in abundance with its unstoppable energy. The show opens with an energetic and athletic dance-off style scene, which manages to remain endearing despite its brashness, a fleeting glimpse of a nod to the gangs of West Side Story.
The introduction show asks us to ‘clear our minds’ and from here on out we have no choice but to do just that. Bar a few moments of welcome simplicity, the show is action-packed and ever-changing; barely leaving room to digest the milieu of colliding images we are given. There is never a dull moment, yet it could be said that the most memorable ones came in the periods of relative calm.
The body percussion, beatboxing and accomplished drumming, together with some dynamic duets in the first half, were just a few of the stand out moments – in need of no extra frills and powerful in their simplicity.
The incredible demands made of the performers as both actors and dancers are immediately obvious and for the most part, they rose impressively and skilfully to this tough challenge. Credit must also be given to the attempts of fusing dance disciplines. Though at times the ballet sequences lost their footing and were often left playing second fiddle to the impressive slickness of the street and hip-hop – in which the flips, leaps and impeccable unity stole the show.
Though far from being a purist, at times it felt there were missed opportunities to bring real contrast and balance. The ballet sections sometimes lacked the poise, grace and rigour, which make it such a unique and impressive discipline, in favour of a more “cool” and often gymnastic style representation of the art form. More might have been done creatively to prevent what at times felt like a one-way marriage in which ballet was subservient. However, to be able to showcase a competent ballet style, to such a consistently fast-paced musical landscape, is an inspiring feat and the moonwalk on pointe was mightily impressive!
A couple of dancers really stood out! Brodie Chesher showed impressive versatility across all the disciplines. From his beautiful balletic lines to his booty shaking Beyoncé, he displayed a finesse, strength and integrity of movement coupled with watchable abandon.
Oriana Siew-Kim, excelled in the street and hip-hop displaying a powerful rawness of style, natural fluidity and undeniable stage presence.
Throughout the show the moments of humour were most welcome, particularly memorable were the geriatric duo and the Swan Lake satire, both executed with impressive craft and intelligent choreography.
Despite some lack of honesty and rawness in the lyrical sections, Beats on Pointe offered up a crowd-pleasing medley of excitement and energy and I would defy anyone to leave the theatre without a smile and a spring in their step.
Words: Grace Keeble