|Good Morning Mr Gershwin | Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu|
|Written by Anna Locke|
|Saturday, 27 February 2010 18:47|
Photo - Laurent Philippe
Stunning is the first word that comes to mind when describing Good Morning Mr Gershwin. From French company Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu comes a contemporary dance piece that entertains, excites and exhilarates.
Showing at His Majesty’s Theatre as part of the Perth International Arts Festival, the company have brought their modern dance moves and mixed it with the great music of George Gershwin. Famous in the early 1900’s, Gershwin composed some of the great musicals and songs of the 1920’s including Porgy and Bess, “I Got Rhythm” and “Summertime”.
Fourteen dancers, with choreography by company founders José Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu, dance a variety of styles such as Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap, Modern, contemporary Ballet and Krumping /Breaking / Popping / Locking (thanks to So You Think You Can Dance for introducing me to all those terms). Their wide and varied styles manage to fit effortlessly with Gershwin’s music, which for the most part remains unchanged.
The dancers primarily dance individual choreography, even if there are multiple people on stage. This creates a never ceasing changing landscape of bodies and moments to look at – one could view the piece multiple times and always see something different. When they do come together they dance in unison flawlessly – to the naked eye they look crisp and impeccably in time.
The dancers are backed by a huge cyclorama screen which constantly projects images (designed by Montalvo) as the performers dance. For me, this was the weakest link in an otherwise outstanding show. The opening sequence of swimming people, sandcastles and naked bodies was interesting for a while, but the images were too large and distracting.
The later video sequences, primarily to the Porgy and Bess soundtrack, had projections about the american race riots and crying children and brought a political element into the show that I didn’t feel needed to be there. Having said that the dancing and singing in this part of the show was awe inspiring.
A subtle lighting design by Vincent Paoli successfully managed to highlight the forms and movements of the dancers. Costumes (by Hervieu with assistance from Siegrid Petit-Imbert) were all unique and looked like they may have just come off the street. The over all style looked relaxed, and the performers looked like they were enjoying themselves.
From the styles it was evident that some dancers had a background in professional training in a variety of styles. According to the company’s website, half of their performers are self taught. The performers are also multicultural and multi religious, and this brings a wonderfully unscripted diversity to the show.
As with any live performance, I tend to find my eye drawn to certain people – in this show; my eye was drawn to Mansour Abdessadok, the tall, powerful hip hop dancer who opened the show. Also of note were Katia Charmeaux – the clown of the piece with a funny and touching solo about body image; and award winner break-dancer Alex Tuy dit Rotha who brought gasps of admiration from the audience.
It is a pity that there are only three performances of Good Morning My Gershwin in Perth, and that tickets are hard to come by. This is a performance that everyone can enjoy, whether you know about dance or not. It is exuberant, enjoyable and outstanding.
GOOD MORNING, MR GERSHWIN
Venue: His Majesty's Theatre, Perth
Dates/Time: Fri 26 Feb - Sun 28 Feb, @7.30m
Duration: 1hr 20min no interval
Tickets: $62.50 - $32.50
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