I have talked about the powerhouse of London Film (BFI).
I am now going to talk about the powerhouse of London Dance, which for me is Sadler's Wells. The strapline for Sadler's Wells is "Sadler's Wells is Dance", which I completely agree with. Sadler's Wells is here:
Photo credit: http://toomuchflavour.co.uk/site2/some-like-it-hip-hop-extract-at-sadlers-wells-sampled-2011-review/
Yesterday I went to see ZooNation's "Some Like It Hip Hop" at the Peacock Theatre, which is Sadler's Wells in the West End. Cut and pasted from the Sadler's Wells website:
Some Like it Hip Hop, written by ZooNation founder Kate Prince and Felix Harrison, is the company’s first full-length production since the award-winning West End smash hit, Into the Hoods.
With a nod to Billy Wilder’s much loved film and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Some Like it Hip Hop is a comical tale of love, mistaken identity, cross-dressing and revolution; all played out in ZooNation’s trademark style of hip hop, comedy and physical theatre.
Directed by Kate Prince, with original music by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde, the all star cast includes Tommy Franzén (So You Think You Can Dance, Blaze, Goldberg) Lizzie Gough (So You Think You Can Dance, Blaze) and Teneisha Bonner (Into the Hoods, Insane in the Brain, StreetDance 3D, Shoes).
ZooNation Dance Company was founded in 2002 by Kate Prince. In 2006, the company premiered Into the Hoods, which went on to become the longest running dance show the West End has ever seen. In 2010 ZooNation became a Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells, and Kate Prince became an Associate Artist.
I LOVED THIS!
I see a fair amount of dance but I rarely write about it because I am not really qualified to do so (I did both tap and ballet when I was a little girl but gave both up before secondary school). However, that said, there is no way I was not going to talk about THIS!
The energy levels for this show are off the scale. The dance is street, urban and cool (old fogey language - I am an old fogey!). The tricks that some of these dancers can perform are mind-blowing. There is live singing which is out of this world. Unlike a lot of contemporary and modern dance, there is a real story, with a proper plot, told in this piece.
It spoke to me for a range of reasons. The hero loves books, yet is not portrayed as a "geek". The character is played by Tommy Franzen, one of the real stars of the show, and the piece shows that reading broadens and enriches your mind. Women dress up as men, because they are no longer allowed good jobs in the real world. They do this and the problems this leads to are comically portrayed. It clearly shows that women are the equals of men and as good as men (which of course we are!). It speaks about urban protest, revolution and standing up against authority for your rights (come on the revolution!). It has "LOVE". It speaks about family - especially the father/daughter relationship - and single parenting. And it has more to say about Grief and what it can do to a person than Mike Leigh's Grief at the National Theatre (I am being 100% sincere here). It is packed to the brim with energy, passion and ideas. The audience reception both through the piece and, specifically, at the end, where there is a proper grand finale was the like I have not seen in a West End Theatre for a long time (this was because there were a lot of young people in the audience and a lot of BME people in the audience). This is the sort of theatre and the sort of show I want to see on full-time in the West End, alongside all the other long-running muscials. Also, just like One Man, Two Guvnors, it shows people that theatre is fun and a great night out for all the family.
I am highly recommending this show to people with children and teenagers, especially Black boys and young Black men. This is not a "Black" show as such, but the vast majority of the dancers and singers are Black or mixed race, and the show has a lot of Black attitude and culture built into its DNA. It definitely has Black energy and passion running right through it. It shows these young people that Black and mixed race performers can be the leads on a West End stage. I want children and young people to see theatre that makes them feel alive and happy and that makes them want to become performers on the stage. This show is it! It will show boys and young men that dancing is hip and cool and not just for sissies. That you can be a real man, testosterone filled, and yet dance like an angel, and that this is something to aspire to, not denigrate and laugh at.
On a personal level, recently there was a project manager post advertised at a small charity which specialised in boxing and martial arts. I have no issue with martial arts. I have a huge issue with boxing. After a lot of soul-searching, I did not put in an application. Whilst I appreciate boxing can teach you disicpline, keep you fit, give you a positive and constructive outlet, teach you respect for authority and provide you with good role models, boxing's goal is to hit someone else's head so hard you knock them out. Over time this causes irreparable brain damage. How could I promote and support that? This is what I would want to promote and support and sell. High energy, creative, mind-blowing dance, that knocks the audience off their feet and delivers a standing ovation every night. I want children and young people to perform not box (sorry, as usual, I have got on my soapbox!).
I will get off my soapbox and say - I am highly recommending this to children and adults alike, it is a fun night out for all the family at the theatre, and the dance and the music is mind-blowing, and the issues dealt with make you think and use your mind. See it now!
To read more about the production and to book tickets, follow the link:
This is a world premiere, the show runs until Saturday 19 November and ticket prices start at £12. Under 16s have half price tickets on all performances and there are free post-show hip hop classes on selected dates. The age guidance on the show is 7+.
Get yourself down there now!