Being it the last Live Vibe before the 2010 final I thought I’d put on my reviewing hat for the monthly weekend event that’s been attracting hundreds of community dance group fans to the Lilian Baylis studio.
Live Vibe June, the or the water element, marks this season’s last show before the final, Live Vibe Elements, at the Peacock Theatre.
Despite England’s first World Cup match coinciding with the show, to my relief I wasn’t the only dance fan in attendance. In fact, the Lilian Baylis was at full capacity once the latecomers had sneaked in, and after a back-and-forth with the audience from hosts Hakeem Onibudo and Annaliese Dayes, it was revealed much of the audience were first-time Live Vibers.
Impact Dance’s Fully Functioning Individuals opened before the evening’s competition between community groups and dance schools kicked off.
Warming up the audience as they’ve done so every month, the Secret Spotlight achieved the desired effect of catching a member of the audience unaware to help Hakeem and Annaleise introduce the show, but the victim looked mortified rather than enthused about being nominated by his friends, looking uncomfortable dancing next to the two hosts.
Live Vibe gives community groups a chance to shine next next to showcases from professional groups, and in some instances there was a fine line between the two. The standard of dancing has been outstanding.
A piece from all-female Cyanazure was the first act, who had strong choreography with fluid, feminine movements, mixing lyrical with contemporary. With their strong and confident moves, they were a strong opener.
Oblivion had an interesting set thanks to their ninja style costume, blindfolds over their eyes, although compared to Cyanazure’s strong set, Oblivion’s piece looked less refined and didn’t appear as confident when executing.
St Marylebone’s contemporary routine was serene, slow and peaceful featuring a big group of dancers. It varied between full group pieces and duets that featured some skilfully executed jumps and catches.
St Marylebone, who later went on to win Live Vibe, also had lots of interesting formation and contemporary based concepts, such as a soloist in a ring of dancers falling onto their linked arms and rebounding back.
The most relevant piece was from Trip Hazard, a group that is clearly trained, capable of strong and flexible leg lifts.
Their piece was shocking, and also best emphasised the theme of water, and as a soloist struggled to succumb to drowning it became gripping. Meanwhile, other dancers swept back and forth illustrating the force of the tide. The final touch was a subtle dash backstage to splash themselves in water, returning back on stage, soaked.
After a brief interval, vocalist Sherry Davis performed two songs. Smiling and with great vocal abilities, Sherry belted out the high moments of her two songs that were upbeat and R’n’B by nature, not far off being summer hits!
Raymond provided the spoken word talent which helpfully set up Text To Speak where dancers volunteer to dance to spoken word or passage.
His performance “Sometimes conversation is a hard act to follow” started off humorous as he faked a stutter (which later proved his point) about how sometimes it’s difficult to hear people talk, or how prejudice affects those with deafness.
In more audience games, three members of the audience were chosen to play the Yes or No game – in order to win the contestants had to avoid answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to Hakeem’s questions. One person won. It was nothing in comparison to the frantic chaos of Gwan Go Get, challenging the competitors to gather 15 listed items from the audience – one item, a bra, was only obtained by one of them!
This month’s invited guest company was Uchenna. It seems since first seeing them perform with Vocab as Adiaspora Collective that there’s nothing short of amazing they can’t do. Their moves to African drums and beats have so much depth and soul to them that you really feel their work.
With all the action taking place, it was a shame there wasn’t as much interaction from the judges.
Live Vibe was a fun evening and good entertainment – difficult to review though.
St Marylebone join Recreation UK, D-Youngaz and Avant Garde Youth in the final on 24 July.