Review: Christmas Showcase 2013

reviews this year’s Christmas Showcase put together by Dance Society and Ballet Society

Performers: DanceSoc, Ballet Society
Date: 30th December 2013
Venue: The Lounge
Rating: ★★★★☆

The annual Christmas Showcase performed by DanceSoc and the Ballet Society has become a staple part of the Christmas entertainment at York. This year’s festive mix of tap, contemporary, ballet and street did not disappoint.

The show opened with a tap dance that had won first place in the recent Durham Dance Fusion Competition – one of the most important competitions in DanceSoc’s calendar. Choreographed by Micha Chambers, it was a slick, fun dance that was packed with complex and clever sequences that complimented the music perfectly (‘Fascination’ by Alphabeat). It started the show with a bang and it was abundantly clear why this fantastic piece of choreography won first place.

Ballet Society’s first offering of the night was choreographed by Jess Jones and Lorrel Chakelian. Moody red lighting and a traditional mix of arabesque’s and pirouette’s came together to the haunting melody of Florence of the Machine’s ‘Girl with One Eye’. It contrasted perfectly with the energetic opening number and the ever changing dance styles ensured the show remained fresh and entertaining for the audience.

Among the highlights of the first act was a contemporary dance choreographed by Charlotte Hibbs. The musicality in this tranquil routine was exceptional and the choreography was particularly impressive considering the vast number of dancers on stage compared the amount of space there was to work with.

The first act finished in spectacular fashion with a street dance choreographed by Omar Peracha that also took home first place at the Durham competition. Heavily influenced by the Matrix, this dance was a visual masterpiece; the precision and detail in the choreography was particularly impressive and yet again it was no surprise why this dance was held in such high esteem at the Durham competition.

After the interval the audience were treated to one of the highlights of the night – Callum Slinger’s solo was an outstanding piece of individual choreography that brought together a mesmerising combination of athleticism and grace. The leaps and spins Slinger included in a fantastic routine was certainly a crowd pleaser and was a nice change of pace from the group dances in the first act.

One of the surprises of the night was the Ballet Society’s beginner’s dance choreographed by Bryonny Dixon. Whilst the steps were simple, the soulful ballad that accompanied it created a haunting and peaceful atmosphere. It most certainly did not feel like a beginner’s dance and Dixon’s quiet, understated choreography was starkly different to the ballet dances in the first act.

But the best dance of the night was saved right until the very end. The contemporary dance choreographed by Palesa Gunn and Tom Jones was a triumph and unsurprisingly won first place at the Durham competition. It was quite simply stunning. The ethereal opening sequence was filled with graceful lifts and jumps. The change of pace half way through the dance was equally as impressive, as sensational lifts combined with sharp, almost chaotic movements created a tribal atmosphere. Every dancer was exceptional and the story of the dance (hunters chasing their prey) absolutely shone through. It was a goosebump inducing finish to an exceptional showcase. DanceSoc have had an incredible start to the year with three first place finishes at Durham and this contemporary finale proved just how talented the York dance scene is.

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