Scandalous: Classique in high energy, intense dance show

By Iana Seales

Classique needed a break, the sort of time away to reflect on why it was elevated to the pinnacle of dance here and to work on a production good enough to be called anything because the dancing would speak for itself.

Classique’s children dancers in their cat costumes for the Lion King-themed dance show ‘Scandalous’ last week. (Photo courtesy of Classique)

‘Scandalous’, the title Director Clive Prowell slapped on the recent production was unnecessary in the sense that there was nothing shocking about the show. Quite frankly, Classique has been pushing the boundaries of dance for years beginning with the raging debate the company triggered back in 2002 when it alluded to the cynicism in the society here regarding men in dance.

Classique later set tongues wagging when it staged the production, ‘Zig-Zag’, which remains unarguably the best thing it has done on stage since emerging as a powerhouse on the circuit of contemporary dance. In Zig-Zag, Clive had explored the limits of male closeness on stage and how far is “too far” when he paired two male dancers in a sexually charged piece. It is against this background the most recent production, ‘Scandalous’ was staged and based on what unfolded on stage, it was another high energy, solid showing from the country’s hottest dance school.

It is a stretch, but perhaps the title ‘Scandalous’ was used because of the onstage lip-lock between a female and male dancer, which was really sizzling, and had all the trappings of a passionate love affair. If not that then it was maybe the brief moment between two male dancers which was startling enough to prompt a, “Hi! Stop it!” from a member of the huge audience at the National Cultural Centre on Sunday night when the show was rolled over. The original show was billed for Saturday last and as expected, was sold out.

Interestingly, Clive decided to taken on Disney’s The Lion King for the first half of the show and it was refreshing to watch. From the opening dance where the steps were as soft as the music and the dancers floated across the stage to some of the best music ever produced for an animated film, the show was alive. The other dances which followed were in the same vein; full of energy and in a few instances, simply beautiful to watch. There is artistry in the movements of some of the dancers attached to the company and not the school, which has set Classique in a select category of dance schools in this country.

Clive’s choreography is mostly playful and at times, serious. He understands his dancers and in a few hours is able to deliver a show which packs intensity; fun; passion; innocence and sex. It was a break from the usual when he debuted a group of little girls and later in the show, junior dancers who are still learning how to move with the music. That aside, his company dancers, a corps of Classique seasoned dancers, can easily rescue a show because of how good they are.

Clive used dancers Paul Charles, Travis Bowen and Ivor Williams for most of the production, basically offering the audience added reasons to stay tuned. Paul Charles has grown tremendously and is now at that place where every dance he appears in is better because he is there; its no boast just a simple fact and that goes for Travis Bowen and Ivor Williams. Leslyn Lashley is another dancer who brings more to a dance than others, but she was barely featured during the Sunday night show. It turned out to be a male-dominated dance show except for the presence of a female dancer, who is somewhat new but has been upstaging other Classique dancers for several months now. The dancer, popularly known as ‘Lucy’ is a bit on the heavy side, but that is her appeal.

Lucy moves with the same ease as any of the slimmer dancers, but she has way more attitude than a handful of them put together. It is to her credit that people love her so whenever she takes the stage she grabs the attention and holds it until she exits. On Sunday night, Lucy was on fire and she moved and shaked with so much zest people kept asking how long she has been dancing. It might have been about the laughs, but Lucy can dance.

Clive saved the second half of the show for the ‘scandalous’ dances when the members of Classique were allowed to get down and dirty. The naughty numbers came up and the dancers showed off their hardcore dancehall moves. It was during this half that a few of the salacious things unfolded on the stage, but nothing so daring to offend and or in bad taste. If the two segments are to be judged though, the first half was undoubtedly stronger and better. (ianaseales@yahoo.com)

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