Review - A Night with Dance Exposé

19th November 2012 – MINE

9/10

Last Monday saw LUU’s Mine venue play host to a diverse range of talent, in a showcase night hosted by the University’s award winning dance troupe, Dance Exposé. The premise was simple: a night of perfectly choreographed and superbly executed dance routines, peppered with performances from an array of student acts. All of this set to the backdrop of a venue in the very depths of the union, with a live DJ and plenty of drink, and the atmosphere bordered somewhere between underground dance battle and an urban cabaret night.

Guests were promised that the first 50 through the doors would be rewarded with free drinks, which seemed to do the trick: we arrived 15 minutes after doors opened to find the place packed out by an excited audience eagerly anticipating the superb performances that awaited.

A complete sell-out, the night was fast paced and riveting, with dances ranging from the laid-back hip-hop group effort to Chris Brown’s “Strip”, to the crowd-rousing finale to “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder, which saw some amazing break dancing amidst a street battle-style circle of dancers.  

A fast-paced contemporary dance to Chase and Status’ “End Credits” saw the boys dressed as doctors and the girls in nightgowns – a creative theme that gave the perfect opportunity for a fantastic move in which the doctors seemingly controlled the patients’ heartbeats.

Meanwhile an Olympic themed mash up of “Chariots of Fire” and Missy Elliott’s “We Run This” surprised us all by turning into a fantastically paced and highly skilled tap number, with the dancers decked out in the strange combo of Team GB kit and, of course, tap shoes.

My personal highlight of the night was the stunning duet by Ben Harrison and Annabel Ling (the latter has just been crowned Best Female at the LUU Dance Competition) to Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love”. A series of well-timed lifts, effortless intimacy and perfect unison between the pair, made for a captivating and emotive performance, that had the whole crowd stunned into silence.

As the dancers changed from one outfit to the next back stage, the gaps between dances were filled by a variety of extremely talented acts, with performances from Bhangra Soc, Circus Soc, The Songsmiths Acapella Group, and local band “Stray Arrows”.

The brilliantly named “Ministry of Bhangra” wowed the crowd with their traditional Punjabi dancing, whilst a solo-performer from Circus Soc mystified onlookers with what can only be described as a bizarrely beautiful performance in which he rolled a glass ball around between his hands. Harder to describe than you think but pretty impressive.

The Songsmiths brought their Glee-esque brand of Acapella singing to the night, with gorgeous renditions of Rusted Root’s “Send me on my way” and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” – impeccably arranged and pitch-perfect.

Meanwhile acoustic soul trio Stray Arrows, a personal favourite of mine, wowed the crowd with a mix of covers (Britney Spears’ “Toxic” was fantastic) and gorgeous originals – “Brick Lane” even had me busting out a few moves of my own.

Whilst it could be argued that Mine wasn’t the best of venues for enabling the whole crowd to get a decent view of the action, the lowered dance floor and basement quality gave the whole show a somewhat informal, street quality to it... exactly what you’d expect from a modern dance show aimed at a student audience.  The whole experience was the kind that made me wish I had some sort of performance based talent – the dancers and musical acts really did put the crowd to shame. 

It has to be said that the team at Dance Exposé did an amazing job with the night. As a warm up for the big annual show this February, “A Night With” succeeded in leaving the audience wanting more.  As a stand-alone show, it made for a fantastic night out – both for those of us could at least try to appreciate the talent, and to my male housemates who’s use of the word “talent” was in a slightly pervier manner.

Images courtesy of SilverCut Productions – visit the Facebook page to see more.