The Best Party Ever: REVIEW

A glowing report for UCLU Dance Society’s Freshers Showcase

If there’s one thing you can always be sure of when you go to a UCLU Dance Society performance, it’s that you’ll be welcomed with a fantastically electric atmosphere. Not just a result of the brilliant dancing, but the buzzing audience members too, who shout encouragement, whistle and cheer throughout. The society’s winter term calendar comes to a close this week with the much anticipated Freshers Showcase at The Garage Theatre Workshop, and to quote one of the over-excited audience members, ‘this is the best frickin’ party ever!’

Full of, energy and enthusiasm, throughout the show there was an overwhelming sense of the evident passion and camaraderie shared between the performers and their audience, which makes the Dance Society one of the most special, and a real treat to watch.

The show started with cheeky humour as three ‘dolls’ came to life after dark for the song ‘Folding Chair’, choreographed by Isabelle Ng. Contrast this with the hip-hop street style of ‘The Hood’ which followed, (choreographed by Cindy Wang and Erika Teichert), and you start to understand the diverse styles experienced when you go to see a Dance Society show. Energetic and upbeat, we were treated to a little swag during this routine.

Next came yet another style of dance to the song ‘Faces’. This slow, contemporary, beautiful routine choreographed by Aria Antoniadou, brought elegance and graceful floor work to the night, and the three dancers – Marla MacKinnon, Louise Crane and Chloe Choo – were wonderfully in sync.

Fourth song, and yet another style of dance for our delight. This time, it came in the form of stylish and skilful tap, choreographed by Charlotte Bowers and Sophie Paulus to ‘We Could’ve Danced All Night (We Are the Stars)’. During this piece, we saw another group of three girls with immense talent and obvious passion for dance.

Of course, the night would not be complete without the crowd pleasing and arguable favourite belly dancing routine, aptly named ‘Belly-licious’. Woops and whistles from the audience, and you know there’s bare flesh involved. The skill and stamina of both choreographer Anshita Khandelwal and fellow dancer Radzsa Almaiahi is truly awe-inspiring so it’s no surprise that this was one of the highlights of the night.

This was followed by another mesmerizingly beautiful and moving piece of contemporary dance, choreographed by Kayleigh Butler to perfectly suit the haunting tones of Lana Del Ray’s ‘Video Games’. The music and movement made for a spine chilling combination, and the lines and shapes of the dancers were magnificent.

The first half of the evening ended with ‘One Night at the Disco’, choreographed by the show’s director and society President, Glennis LaRoe. If the title didn’t give it away (slightly worrying if that’s the case), the style of dance was disco. Fantastically lively, upbeat and energetic, you couldn’t help but smile at the enjoyment of the performers and the cheeky routine complete with typical Night Fever-esque moves. A perfect end to an outstanding first half!

The second half arrived with a bang in the form of the body popping routine ‘Make Your Hearts Pop’. Society favourite Walton Li’s choreography was smooth, stylish and performed with real punch and attitude by Omari Allen, Valerie Huang, Ken Yeng Yi Tang, Chris Chiu and Liza Hilman. This was followed by the sweeter elegance and charm of Georgia Bowker-Brady, bringing back the familiar three-woman set up for ‘Little Bird, Little Chaveleh’, the wonderfully moving song from classic musical Fiddler on the Roof.

The next song was choreographed by the show’s producer, Abi Smith. Set to the song ‘Do Your Thing’, the routine was bouncy, lively and extremely colourful, making for an enjoyable contrast to its more sober predecessor.

Again, the night would not be a true Dance Society production if it didn’t include some saucy Latin to raise the temperature a couple of degrees, and ‘Ella Se Fue’, choreographed by Beatrice Pignatelli, more than delivered. Sensual, stylish, fantastic lifts and great hip movement, it’s easy to get distracted from the sexy dancing by the three very handsome men and three stunning ladies doing their thing on the dance floor.

The penultimate routine saw a return to body popping for ‘Unconditional’, choreographed by Deborah Owolabi. Owolabi, along with Matita Afoakwa and Stephanie Kerr took the opportunity to really strut their stuff and show great attitude.

The final routine took us to a hospital, where the dancers played at being doctors and patients in ‘St. Louis Blues’. Chris Foo, Nicole de Silva and choreographer Nataniel Tan brought the night to a fantastic close with their indescribably brilliant break dancing  There really was no better way to end the show.

If you’re looking for a night of diverse talent and brilliant fun then there really is no need to look any further than UCLU Dance Society’s Freshers Showcase. Every performer is so obviously full of passion for their art and can only be highly commended for the thoroughly entertaining show they put on. The stand out performers of the night were Omari Allen, Radzsa Almaiahi and Stephanie Kerr for their vibrancy and versatility, but all of the night’s dancers and choreographers are deserving of the utmost praise for a job well done.

Be warned, if you want to go and see this show, get in queue early as if the first night sell-out performance is anything to go by, you’ll be fighting for a ticket!

UCLU Drama Society’s Freshers Showcase is being performed on the 12th, 13th and 14th December at The Garage Theatre Workshop. Entry £3. Show starts at 7.30pm. Audience members are advised to turn up as early as 6.30pm to ensure they don’t miss out as there are a limited number of tickets available for this highly popular show!