Review: City of Dance – Ordinary People at Their Best


Enerchi Emporium at the Kalk Bay TheatreEnerchi  Emporium, a newly developed multi-genre dance studio, realises the field of dance as a platform to build one’s self esteem and encourages the idea that anyone can dance so long the passion and the will to dance is alive.

In a very rare showcasing last week, the amateur dancers gave a performance choreographed by professionals. The point of such a display is very different from a ‘normal’ show, where one expects complex dance routines executed with precision and apparent effortlessness. Instead, Enerchi Emporium embraces the fact that their dancers’ facial expressions show their intention to learn and encourages them simply to be the best that they can be whilst performing.  Needless to say, much of the audience is likely to be made up of friends and family but, so long as one understands and appreciates what is being attempted here, it’s really quite fun.

The intimacy of a venue like Kalk Bay Theatre is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, there is the distraction of the squeaking of the dancers’ shoes on the shiny black floors and the danger of a dancer’s bead of sweat being flicked into your wine glass. On the other, the physical closeness of the dancers makes it all more real, more joyous and fun. And this feeling of being a part of the show, of being complicit in the belief that anyone really can dance, is exactly the point.

The performance itself is a collision of Latin, hip hop, ballet, contemporary, ballroom and jazz fusion, with no genre being given more than five minutes at a time.  The casting brings forth the energetic and most enthusiastic of personalities such as Jacinta Richards who steals the eyes in the hip hop sections, the sultry Leslie Erasmus who takes charge in the ballroom rhythms and the awkward-but-irresistible Jason Hanslo who brought charm and humour to his sassy Latin scene.

With 20 dancers and over 80 costume changes, as well as 20 dance scenes and two live performances by Jenni A. Hartman, choreographers and directors Danielle Fish and Anthony Rau have done a massive amount of work here. The superb taste in commercial music choices reaches out to all age groups and gets the audience members tapping their feet but also helps to place the performance firmly within its class. With that in mind, this is a one of those unique events that allows the public to see ‘normal’ people dance for what they believe in.  This is not a ‘performance’ so much as a charming showcase of ordinary people at their best.

Zaid Philander

City of Dance by Enerchi Emporium runs at the Kalk Bay Theatre from 28 September to 1st October 2011.

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