What do you get when you mix classical ballet with hip-hop? Classically trained ballet dancers on pointe (which to those who might not know, means performing on your tip toes), dancing scores which happily mix the two genres and a title to the program which is fun and suggests exactly what it delivers.
No, I lie - it delivers a lot more!
Beats on Pointe
I had the pleasure to attend the Beats on Pointe show and for the record, this is one show which when it comes to a venue near you, it would be foolish not to attend. The organisers spent some time at the beginning of the show, paying tribute and showcasing the dance schools in the area. Several dance groups performed short dance scores and were enthusiastically received by the audience. Breaks on Pointe acknowledges that this is where their dancers start their love of dance and where a lot of them learned what was required to take them to the next level.
Beats on Pointe was started by Jennifer and Milo Peric, who collaborated with Melbourne-based choreographers Phill Haddad and Emma Vaiano. Together, they gave birth to Melbourne's newest professional dance company and it seems to be a sweet ticket to success and some fabulous performances.
A rap song which was sung at the beginning of the event talked about dancing for the soul and allowed us all to clear our minds and be present in the moment. And so the show began with a really eclectic and varied program featuring classical ballet moves and dance sequences together with upbeat hip-hop and rap.
I was actually astonished at the length of what was on offer because this small dance group is mostly on stage for the entire program which undoubtedly requires clear minds, many dance moves, all done in perfect time and harmony and with tremendous energy. This is nothing short of an amazing commitment by the dancers and the organisers who put this together for our enjoyment.
Just to give you a flavour of the expanse of their program, there was a contest on stage between the ballet dancers and the hip-hop dancers which the audience had to judge. I won't tell you who won. You may have to find that out yourself or the winner might vary depending on the audience on the night. Well-known piano concertos and violin pieces accompany the dancers. Sometimes the dancers occupied the whole stage and were full on beating an unbelievably fast rhythm, other times, they used minimal props to express in dance terms feelings and emotions between two individuals - the chemistry between them being conveyed so brilliantly by their moves.
A youthful group in jeans and little hot pants danced a number for the audience and almost persuaded them to join the dance in the aisles. Well known music scores from Michael Jackson's Thriller to Can You Feel It? had everyone tapping hands and feet. The costumes changes were many, some showing street dress, others adhering to more conventional ballet attire but always fun and different depending on the music score and the dance sequence.
The troupe used lights on their feet and tutus with original flair and treated us to humorous exchanges. Who doesn't warm to a man in a pink tutu? They used the stark brick wall of the Powerhouse and some Bunnings props, a ladder, some upturned pots and barrels to dance hip-hop with a rousing beat and performed acrobatic feats, while in other moments treated us to some improvised music-making, some beatboxing and some serious twerking by an elderly couple of cleaners on stage which had the audience crying out for more.
The program moved from one vigorous and all-out street dance to a more sedate ballet sequence with amusing and recognisable elements of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. The changes were fast and furious which made it even more engaging for the audience.
The music scores were drawn from popular songs and classical movements which allowed the audience to feel the connection instantly.
Beats On Pointe featured a highly talented cast of dance athletes, blending two dance worlds with lively dance theatre, freestyle acts, a great soundtrack and some very funny sketches. Produced by Masters of Choreography, this show perfectly combined electrifying street dance, hip-hop and classical ballet to create the perfect entertainment for audiences of all ages.