It was interesting to note the fifty-fifty split between new and old patrons. The new table seem to be having a lot of fun! The secret table duly nominate one person to co-host the show. That person is Matthew who has come to support his friend Hannah who is performing tonight.
Matthew is Dominican and brings Soca moves to the Live Vibe stage. Hakeem choreographs the audience to a new Live Vibe theme tune. It works. The first two times. Particularly since Matthew is such a good sport. By the third time we really are just padding for the latecomers.
This is the third show of the season and we are on to the Fire theme in the stage of the dance competition where the winner will perform at the Peacock theatre with Zoonation, The Waacktioners and Floetic Lara to name a few on 24th July.
But the first act of the night is actually performing twice tonight, FFI (Fully Functioning Individuals) Impact Dance (Hakeem’s own group in which he is performing tonight). In this first piece we get Hakeem as puppet master over a troupe of tutu-ed girls. It’s too easy to make the obvious points so I won’t.
Three judges Dwayne ‘Sparxx’ Taylor, 2009 Stylefest krump champion and Boy Blue dancer; Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy, artistic director of Boy Blue Entertainment and choreographer of Streetdance 3D (read Streetdance 3D review); Kymberlee Jay, Nike Athlete, Youth Dance England patron and mentor will be judging who gets to perform with the winners of previous months, Recreation and D-Youngaz.
Avant Garde Youth start the night, bundled together seeking warmth from the dancer in a red hoodie as they roll their shoulders in a striking piece that uses the movements of licking flames, but the cabaret style layout means I don’t actually get to see any more than that. This layout simply doesn’t work for dance.
The second piece is by Finchley Catholic School of North London, choreographed by a member of Boy Blue in a lyrical piece that speaks of teenage passion with all the drama that entails.
The final act is another school – Plumstead Manor – whose standard is, well, standard. It’s easy to forget sometimes that the likes of Avant Garde, Unity, Myself etc are exceptions rather than the rule in terms of dance talent and that is precisely why they deserve recognition and praise. However, the self-conscious GCSE students on stage are to be applauded for getting up there and just doing it.
The second half opens with what can only be described as a lounge band and that is most fitting for a hip hop cabaret night. Live Vibe needs more of this!
Duane Flames takes to the stage with his lounge band and sounds nice, if somewhat unintelligible under the full on funk of the band. The band take it down to a reggae lick and we get better audio on our emcee. Enjoyable as he is, though I’m not sure what a set like this does for the event thematically, perhaps it would be better if they commission music to fit the theme of the night and if that means just one or two tracks then so be it.
Hakeem seeks a couple, Warren and Siobhan out of the crowd to play a game. Mark and his lady Szidi are somewhat more reluctant, but what we get is the Live Vibe version of Mr & Mrs. Mark doesn’t get off to a good start by denying he even knows his other half. The result was a tie with the females knowing more about their men than vice versa. They both get a bottle for their troubles before the open mic slot sets us on our way towards the end of the second half. Dee sings with a jazz voice of utter beauty.
Impact Dance’s second piece starts with a football fanatic cleaner closing up shop; the mannequins come to life in an engaging piece of hip hop theatre that would be fantastic fully styled up and in situ (if Selfridges are reading this). Just a note though – if you’re going to do the Thriller choreography it HAS to be on point and this made for a disappointing end to the piece.
Finally, we have results time for the dance groups and Kymberlee Jay comes to deliver the results – Avant Garde Youth win, which is only to be expected. Although Finchley School did give them a good run for their money. The number of people standing at the back too watch Avant Garde perform again atests to the frustrating layout, although even then floorwork is out of vision.
June’s theme is water and with 100 tickets sold already you’d better be quick to get a chance to see for yourself.
If you don’t make it to June, the next season of Live Vibe is open for applications from June under the theme of Live Vibe at the Movies. Now that should inspire some interesting narrative based dance from a range of parties. Don’t sleep!