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Month: April 2019

Why Dancers Should Visit A Dance Specialist Pysio

Why Dancers Should Visit A Dance Specialist Pysio

As dancers, we are well in tune with our body and it’s needs. We fuel it properly and seek advice from nutritionists. We incorporate a fitness regime and seek advice from personal trainers. So why is it any different when we have an injury?!

If it’s something non serious, we tend to self medicate, anti inflammatory gels, taping methods, ice baths etc anything to help alleviate the issue, but that often doesn’t get to the source of the problem, and if it isn’t addressed at the source, then the same problems will re-occure. Visiting a physiotherapist will not only enable you to find the root cause, but show you ways in which you can prevent it from being a consistent problem. The difference between a general physiotherapist and one who specialises in dance is hugely important.

I would always recommend the latter to dancers. General practicing physiotherapists are wonderful, and do a fantastic job at keeping a ‘normal’ human body fully funtional for every day life. However, the life of a dancer is far from ordinary, and what we ask of our bodies is way beyond any ‘normal’ range. A dancer needs to be reassured that their physio fully understands movement of the body where dance technique is concerned.

Dan Turnell Pysio is one such practioner. Dan has been practicing physio in Manchester for just over a year, after relocating from London. He was a hugely successful practitioner on prestigious Harley Street for 10 years, being the physio of choice for many West End stars, and became the resident physio for Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake company dancers no less! His partner is also a dancer, so he is very much in tune with the dancing world and just how strenuous this career choice is.

Firstly, Dan will give you a thorough consulation, talking about any past history of injuries and when and where there is any discomfort. He will ask you to stand so he can access your relaxed posture and gait. He may ask you to do a few slow, controlled movements, looking for any minor clues or pin points. Dan describes diagnosing an issue to putting together a jigsaw puzzle. He states that there are usually many little minor ailments and problems that all play a part in 1 singular injury. That’s why there are usually a number of things that you can do to alleviate symptoms, not just a one size fits all remedy.

Once he’s built a picture of exactly how the injury or discomfort has arisen, there are a number of routes he can take to help alleviate it. If there is built up tension or over loaded muscles, causing misalignment, then he wil perform a sports massage to the affected area. Sports massages are not to be liked to a therapeutic massage. The aim is to relax the muscles, not your mind, so expect some discomfort. However, the immediate results are well worth it.

Next, he may show you some stretches to aid in lengthening any tightness in the musclesnor ligaments. Dancers of course are used to stretching, but these ones given will be directly linked to your injury, and are usually miminal in the range of motion to really target specific muscles. On the flip side, Dan will also recommend some strengthening exercises, as usually, if there is tightness, it’s because there is weakness somewhere else and it’s the body’s way of trying to compensate. You will come away from an appointment feeling not only in less discomfort or pain, but enlightened as to how it has arisen in the first place, and armed with a perscription of strenghtening and conditioning exercises to help prevent it happening again.

To be able to see a physio who has extensive knowledge of dance technique and the requirements that then places upon your body is priceless. Being able to have complete faith and trust in someone, who will know and understand your specific needs, help you get over an injury and give you the tools to prevent it reoccurring, is non comparable. Dan Turnell Physio can be contacted through his website https://www.danturnellphysio.co.uk/# or his social media channels below;

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DanTurnellPhysio/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/danturnellphysio/

Dance Niche

Dirty Dancing on Stage | Review

Dirty Dancing on Stage | Review

The 1987 box office hit Dirty Dancing is one of the most popular, classic films of all time, thats why I included it in my list of top dance movies you can read about here http://danceniche.com/2017/12/28/top-dance-movies-you-need-to-watch/ The film also includes one of the most iconic dance scenes, replicated at weddings everywhere! The musical version first hit stages in 2006, and became the fastest ever selling west end show! After productions being rolled out world wide, the current adaptation came back to UK soil in 2011, with this tour starting in September 2018.

Right from the offset, you know you’re in for a real treat of an evening! The clever staging of Kellerman’s is almost like an exact replica, instantly recognizable, including other focal points like the wooden stairs leading up to Jonny’s chalet, the front of his black Chevrolet, and the infamous stage inside the main house.

The music transports you straight away, and although songs in their own right, they are now interwoven with the movie. I have to say, this stage production is just like watching the movie itself. Casting choices, costumes, actors mannerisms are all a perfect homage to the film. Classic one liners like “I carried a watermelon” are all been included for you to mime along with. That being said, there are some wonderful added scenes to pad out sections of story telling that just wouldn’t correlate on stage, and some comedy moments thrown in for good measure!

Kira Malou plays Baby, and is one such character who certainly adds to the laughs! The scenes where she intersects the staff party and has her first taste of saucy swaying is hilarious. Kira’s facial expressions, gawky awkwardness and over the top stiff hip movements have the audience in hysterics! It’s plain to see she is an able dancer, but to portray a character as having no dance experience at all is highly commendable.

Jonny is played by Michael O’Reilly and with his honed physique, snake hips and pants so tight they might as well have been spray painted on, embodies the late, great, Patrick Swayze. It’s undeniable that Swayze made the role his own, and no one could ever recreate that magic, but Michael did an honorable job, and I could think of no one better for filling those boots. The brooding arrogance he brings to the role is offset only by the puppy dog eyes he makes at Baby, making every girl in the auditorium wishing they could trade places with her!

Simone Covele, with her gazelle like legs that seem to go on forever is the perfect choice to play Penny, and boy, does she know how to use those legs! Not only do her legs seemily go up to her ears, but they go beyond that when she unleashes a kick or extension, and with such explosion, , implores gasps of amazement!

The level of dance technique is outstanding. Multiple pirouettes, acrobatics and death defying lifts keep the audience yearning for more! The energy from every single member of cast and ensemble really helps to give the show a buzz that never comes down! The iconic dance scenes from the film are all present on stage, including ‘spaghetti arms’ ‘lover boy’ and THAT LIFT!!!! Michael lifts Kira, but together in that moment they lift the roof off with the rraction from the audience. It really is a special moment and one I have never experienced before!!

Favorite moments include the lake scene which is cleverly devised with set, lighting and sound and not without its own injection of humour, the end dance scene with cast and audience in a state of euphoric ecstasy, and the band keeping the party atmosphere going well after the finale. There are a few, let’s say ‘cheeky’ moments from Michael, lovers doing what lovers do, and rather raunchy dance moments that might prove a little too informative for younger members of the audience, amd it does carry an age guidance of 12+, but on the whole, the show is wonderfullyand thoroughly entertaining!

Dirty Dancing – the classic story on stage – is currently showing at The Palace Theatre Manchester untill Saturday 27th April, tickets can be purchased here https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/dirty-dancing-the-classic-story-on-stage/palace-theatre-manchester/ It moves on to Guilford, before returning up north and across the Mersey to the Liverpool Empire 6th-11th May, and continues it’s tour, ending in August. Full details of dates and locations cam be found on the official website https://dirtydancingontour.com/ .

This is definitely one show you do not want to miss, and with ticket proces starting at just £13, it’s an absolute steal!!! I can guarantee you’ll be doing salsa in your seat and cha cha to the car!

Dance Niche

Dirty Dancing Tour Cast Q&A

Dirty Dancing Tour Cast Q&A

Dirty Dancing is inarguably one of the most iconic dance films…….ever!! So much so, that I included it in my top dance movies, which you can read about here http://danceniche.com/2017/12/28/top-dance-movies-you-need-to-watch/

but did you know that there is a staged musical version currently touring the UK?! The Dirty Dancing Tour is set to hit The Palace Theatre Manchester next week, and to entice us, cast members Kira Malou as Baby, Michael O’Reily as Jonny and Simone Covelle as Penny, answered a few questions on being involved in such a cult classic!

How does it feel taking on such iconic roles?

Michael: Once you get over the fact that it’s quite a daunting role to take on because it’s so well-known it’s just really exciting. Everyone is so familiar with the show and they’re so familiar with the characters that you’re just excited to do it justice, you’re ready to put in the work and bring it to life.

Simone: I agree. It’s so exciting. Being able to play such an iconic role in a show that brings the movie to life on stage is an amazing privilege.

Kira: It is really exciting but of course there’s also a lot of pressure to do the characters justice because they are so well-known and so iconic.

What’s your approach in terms of bringing a fresh take to the characters?

Kira: I don’t want to stray too far from what Jennifer Grey did in the film because I personally feel the choices she makes are things I’d do as well. Although I’m being a bit bolder with the choices so when she’s being sexy, I want people to be able to see that “Baby” can be really sexy, fiery and smart – to really show the depths to her.

Michael: It’s about ‘How would I behave if I was in the same situations?’ That frees you up to bring something of yourself to the role, to put elements of yourself into the portrayal.

Simone: It’s about thinking ‘What would I do in this situation?’ whilst thinking about Penny and the era in which the story is set, namely 1963. It’s such a different time to now and what she goes through is quite heavy so to think ‘How would I feel if I was in that time and that situation?’ is a great help because in real life I have a very different personality to her.

In what ways can you relate to your characters? And in what ways are they completely different?

Simone: The big red flag for me is what Penny goes through. She’s in quite a sticky situation and has to make some big decisions. I feel she’s quite isolated and that’s a struggle for me to understand because I’ve never really been isolated myself or had to make massive decisions that would have such a major effect on my life. But I love the fieriness of her, although it’s hard being mean to Kira on stage when we get on so well, I can relate to her passion for dance.

Kira: I’m not proud to say it but I’m not like Baby in terms of education. She knows a lot about politics and what goes on in the world but I feel I’m not in touch with that side of myself as much. But I do feel quite similar to her in that I remember when I was 17 and the first time I fell in love and doing so much to be close to that person – things I’d never think to do on a regular basis just to be with someone. I also relate to the closeness she feels with her family.

Michael: Obviously Johnny in the show is a dancer and I trained in dance myself so that’s kind of the hook I latch onto. We come from a similar background, with the training everyone has to go through, but fortunately I haven’t gone through the serious, crippling financial situation Johnny has been through or the unexplained relationship with his dad and the fact his mum is never mentioned. That’s a whole grey area that we don’t even know about and it’s a part of the character that I have to work to understand.

How is the classic story recreated on stage?

Kira: The script is the same as the film scene-by-scene, with a few extra little surprises in there, and I feel it’s done really well. The set is a smaller replica of the actual Kellerman’s resort and in fact there are three big trucks they use for the staff quarters, the inside and outside of the hotel and the resort cabins. The music, of course, is so iconic and it’s done so well with the live band being on stage. They are fantastic musicians.

Michael: The team do such a good job of bringing the story to the stage so it’s like reliving the film live. You’ve got all the dances, all the music, the band’s on stage kicking butt – it’s such a fun show.

Can you recall when you first saw the film and the impact it had on you?

Kira: I vividly remember watching it on videotape because my mum had it and I remember watching the dance scenes in the staff quarters and I was like ‘Oh my God!’ So I knew exactly how Baby feels when she goes to the resort. It was mesmerising.

Michael: I remember my mum watching it when I was really young and being like ‘That’s not my type of film’ as I went off to play sports or whatever. Then I revisited it when I got into the dance industry more and I was like ‘Actually, it’s a really cool film’. The more time I spent in rehearsals looking through the script, which is the same as the film, we talked a lot about it being about bravery and becoming the person you want to be, regardless of your situation and people telling you you can’t. That’s very inspiring and I think that’s why it has done so well.

Simone: When I saw it I was like ‘I just want to be a part of this, to just be in there’ especially with scenes like Do You Love Me? where they’re just having a party and I remember watching the Mambo and thinking ‘My goodness, I want to do that!’ and now I get to do it.

Michael and Kira, how much pressure is there to get the legendary lift right?

Kira: It’s a huge pressure because everyone is waiting for that lift. It’s so iconic to the film, isn’t it? But when it comes to recreating it, I trust Michael. I trust that even if I fall he’ll have my back, but touch wood nothing’s gone wrong yet.

Michael: The fun bit is when we do the lift in the water, which is done by visual effects. That’s fun because it’s where you get to mess it up and go wrong.

What other challenges does the show present for you physically?

Kira: I’m a trained dancer, but I have to appear like I’m not. I have to reverse everything I’ve been taughtand make it look bad, without making it look like I’m trying to be bad.

Simone: The Mambo is quite challenging. It sort of comes out of nowhere and is really explosive and fast-paced.

Michael: It’s a very dance-heavy show, as you’d expect, but I don’t think I realised quite how dance-heavy it is until we started rehearsals. There are a few numbers back to back and you’re dripping with sweat, like ‘Oh man, we’ve got to go on for the next number’ before you’ve even got into the next costume. Physically it’s a tough show but that’s why we do it – we love that challenge.

And what are the emotional challenges?

Michael: All of our characters have a moment where we have to go to that place emotionally and it’s always a challenge, but as an actor I feel like those are the fun moments too because they’re the moments where you can be brave enough to go to that place and feel all those feelings. You trust the audience is there with you and your partner is with you on stage emotionally too.

Simone: I think most of us break down into tears at some point in the show and you don’t want to make it look fake so you have to make it as real as possible. When you come off stage after a scene like that, you just have to shake it off because you get really emotional. It’s a rollercoaster but it’s exciting.

Kira: You have to take yourself to a place that maybe you don’t want to go to on that day but you just have to let yourself go there. In the scene where Baby is talking to her dad there’s this big monologue and it’s quite emotional, then you have to come off from that scene and go into the next scene with a new mindset whereas in real life you’d have a few hours to sort yourself out.

The music is a massive part of the Dirty Dancing experience. Do you have a favourite song from the show?

Kira: Hungry Eyes. I love that song and always have. Before I even auditioned for the show it was my alarm in the morning!

Michael: For me it’s (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life. It was a massive hit and it’s such a popular song.But it’s my favourite because it comes right at the end of the show. It’s such a climactic moment where everyone is on stage dancing together and there’s a moment where Johnny comes through the crowd so there’s a real connection with the audience.

Simone: Mine’s Do You Love Me? Love the routine, love the song, and it feels free where it’s like a party scene with your mates. It’s really raw and fun.

Michael, this is your professional debut. How are you finding it?

Michael: It’s been indescribable really. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m so privileged to be able to do it. It’s a great role, a great show, the cast have been amazing, the team have been fantastic, everyone’s helped me along on the journey and it feels like we’ve become a really strong team.

What are you all most looking forward to about taking the show on tour?

Kira: I love connecting with different audiences in different venues. We get excited moving around the country so we’re buzzing on stage and the audience feeds off that.

Michael: I think we’re really lucky to take the show on tour because we get an opening night every week. It also means you get to perform for a huge range of people and the fact you’re travelling together makes you a stronger company.

Simone: It keeps it exciting because you’re not within the same four walls for a long time. It feels new each time and for me, being from Australia, getting to travel the UK is awesome.

What’s the one thing you couldn’t be on the road without?

Michael: I’d have to say my NutriBullet…

Kira: [Laughs] Six-pack yawn!

Simone: For me, it’s my hubby. He’s coming on tour with me so he’ll be my taxi driver.

Kira: I like to have books with me. I do like reading and it’s nice to wind down after shows by taking yourself off to some imaginary place.

It sounds amazing! But don’t just take thier word for it, check out the trailer here!!! https://youtu.be/bgOVcCrZjoo

Goosebumps!!! Dirty dancing Tour will be arriving at The Palace Theatre Manchester from Mon 22nd April to Sat 27th April. Ticket and date information can be found on their website https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/dirty-dancing-the-classic-story-on-stage/palace-theatre-manchester/

I will be watching on press night, so keep an eye open for the review article!

Dance Niche

Romeo & Juliet by KS Dance | REVIEW

Romeo & Juliet by KS Dance | REVIEW

Last week, I was kindly invited along to watch Kate Simmons Dance perform their annual show and production of Romeo & Juliet, staged at The Bridley Theatre, Runcorn.

KS Dance are a vocational dance college based in Warrington, north west England. Founded by Kate Simmons, previously of London Festival Ballet as well as being a Cecchetti Faculty Committee Member, the professional vocational college has a strong emphasis on ballet, but it is not the only genre they teach. As such, the show was split into 2 halves – a variety show of musical theatre, jazz, hip hop, flamenco, contemporary, tap and singing, as well as a showcase of class variations, followed by a classical ballet production of Romeo & Juliet.

The first half really had something for everyone, with classic songs from broadway hits, to more modern musical theatre with a number from Hamilton, and current pop chart icons like Sia. The versatility in KS Dance students was phenomenal. Each contrasting number was executed with style and technique relevant to that particular genre. The acting and singing skills during the musical theatre numbers blew me away, there are some seriously talented triple threat students that attend!!!

Next came the class variations. This had been cleverly devised and set to showcase what the students master during classes, yet with a production feel. There were 5 levels of ballet, each group in their own colour costume, to make them easily distinguishable. It was a wonderful opportunity to see how ballet elements progress through the different stages, and how more advanced steps that we recognise in productions, are mastered.

Where the show really came into it’s own however, was Act II, KS Dance’s classical ballet production of Romeo & Juliet. The quality and technique displayed by all of the dancers was phenominal, but obviously the clandestine lovers stole the show. Not only were there jaw dropping height in the extensions, dizzying piroettes, and gravity defying leaps, but the level of maturity and acting displayed was captivating. For young students to be able to convey such levels of angst, passion and emotion, all the while exectuing difficult and intricate ballet steps, is a credit not only to them, but to their teachers.

All in all, KS Dance’s show was a hugely entertaining success, and what came across the most was the professionalism across the board. From the backstage warming up rituals, to the swift changes between acts in the first half (under 10 seconds each) and the gracious bows and curtseys at the finale, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d watched a an established, fully professinal dance company. Quality and maturity oozed from the students pores. A night of pure entertainment!

KS Dance host a showcase annually, and if you ever get the opportunity to watch, I would highly recomend it. There aren’t many shows you can pay under £15 a ticket and receive such high calibre dance and theatre in return. A must for any theatre enthusiast!

If you are interested in learning more about KS Dance and all that they offer, please head to their website http://ksd-online.co.uk/ Special thanks to Rupert Wiltshire for the invitation and Kate Simmons for allowing me an insight to her show.

Dance Niche

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