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let’s dance double bill @ riverside theatres

From Left Chris Chua, Nasim Patel in BeatStorm Pic Heidrun Lohr

First, movies were silent. One of the hottest silent movie stars was Greta Garbo. Eventually, people worked out how to make talkies – movies in which the actors spoke and you could hear their voices. So, in 1930 the most anticipated film was Garbo’s first talkie. All the publicists had to do was bill it “Garbo speaks!” and the fans flocked in.

Twenty-five years later, the producers of Marlon Brando’s film, Guys and Dolls, knew all they had to do was bill the movie “Brando sings!” and, sure enough, the fans flocked in.

On 12th August last week, dancer Ryuichi Fujimura turned the tables and launched into his “talkie dance”. With verve, wit and aplomb, he came naked onto the stage. Not literally, but figuratively. Why does a dancer dance? To be utterly vulnerable, and through their art to bare their soul. And through sheer courage to meet and connect with the audience, unalloyed by a boundary distancing viewer, but to connect audience and performer by direct and intimate human contact.

Ryuichi Fujimura, with pathos, grace and humour, created an engaging show, deftly interweaving movement, gesture, mime, spoken word and song, paired by intriguing video by Laura Turner, illuminated by lighting designer and production manager Frankie Clarke, and consolidated narratively by dramaturg Carlos Gomez and Tobhiya Stone Feller was the design consultant.

Ryuichi Fujimura’s autobiographical show, which was performed at Riverside Theatres, was titled Fall! Falter!! Dance!!!

On the same bill was a second, equally genre-blending production. Imagine an absorbing video game projected onto a theatre-size screen, in which you play by moving your whole body and get an exhilarating work-out at the same time. If ballet classes are not your thing, try BeatStorm for an avenue to getting to be present, agile and fit on your way to becoming a better dancer.

Developed and demonstrated by tech-wiz and choreographer Chris Chua, ably co-performed by Nasim Patel, and production managed by Frankie Clarke, Beatstorm is an exciting interactive game/dance warm-up tool for all who are brave-of-heart movers – budding and seasoned dancers alike.

LET’S DANCE played the Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres between the 11th and 13th August 2022.

Featured image : Ryuichi Fujimura Fall! Falter! Dance! Let’s Dance Pic Heidrun_Lohr

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