Review - Dance Exposé presents Nine to Five

Whilst I can’t claim to know that much about dancing, I had thoroughly enjoyed the show that Dance Exposé put on last term, and had high hopes for their heavily-hyped February effort. The part of me that can’t, and has never been able to dance, has always secretly been a little envious of our university’s dance troupe, in all their pirouetting, body-popping glory. Why can’t I bust moves like those on a dance floor I ask myself?

But with envy comes respect, and as I took my seat on the balcony of the Riley Smith hall on Friday night, I prepared myself to be reluctantly happy for these amazingly talented people. What I wasn’t prepared for however, was just how much I, the non-dancer, would feel a part of the show. And how, in comparison to the taster I’d been given in November, I’d come away with something beyond respect for these dancers. Awe might be a better word.

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The show itself was simply stunning, with the fantastic '9 to 5' theme creating a plethora of possibilities for dances based on different jobs. Beginning with a PJ-clad group bounding around the stage to “Wake Me Up” and “9-5”, the show proceeded to navigate through the day, visiting street-battling bin-men, anonymous commuters, chimney sweeps, basketball players, salesman and more along the way.

The use of sound-bites and video footage throughout made for an atmospheric assault on the senses, although the superbly chosen songs and medleys used for the dances themselves could perhaps have continued into one another. Too many gaps between routines were just that little too long, and either more sound or a continuation of the stunning lights and graphics were needed to bridge the gap – and prevent any potential boredom. That said, LUU Backstage Society did a fantastic job helping to bring the show to life, with creative staging and imaginative sequences.

However, the stars of the show were of course the dancers, who captivated the audience for well over two hours (Old Bar curly fries helped to span the twenty minute interval).  Highlight dances included Factory Worker – a Shockwaves advert style assembly line that saw the workers’ jerky movements become increasingly rebellious in attempt to break free of their prison-like existence.The tap-dancing firewomen’s routine to the bizarrest medley I have ever heard – Fireman Sam and Azelia Banks – was also a crowd-pleaser.

There may have been a few routines taken from the November show, including the gorgeous Doctor routine to “End Credits”, as well as the Athlete tap routine, but overall the show had a feel of originality and exclusivity to it. Psychiatrist was a crowd-pleasing closer to the first act, with the dubstep-fuelled jerking and distorted loudness conveying brilliantly the confusing elements of a mental asylum.

As an aspiring journalist myself the second half saw me waiting expectantly for Abi Glading’s choreographed routine to “Read All About It” – a beautifully quick take on a traditional ballet style.Other standouts included Spy, to the brilliantly chosen “Die Another Day”, Fitness Instructor (although more for any boy with a love of knicker shorts) and Janitor (a standout solo from Will-I-Am Barbarinsa).

The show’s end saw the euphoric group celebration to the theme of Student (beautifully choreographed by Claire Williams) – with a frantically mimed-typing intro, that's fantastically close to home for many of us.  This paved the way for the finale, a group dance off with a suitably party atmosphere. Undeniably, the end of the show had the majority of the audience wanting to jump up on stage to celebrate as well. Triumphant would be the best word to describe the atmosphere, but I can imagine also exhaustedly relieved.

Same time next year?

Images by SilverCut Productions