Yesterday at the Ludus Dance Christmas sharing end of year show thing, my little three-year old niece danced up on the stage to I Just Can’t Wait to be King from the Lion King. The youngest and tiniest of the group she prowled and roared with confidence and, speaking objectively and not as a proud uncle, she utterly stole the show from those heavy-footed amateurs sharing her stage.
The performers and audience all sat around large round tables as though in a bar. Performers would be called to the side of the stage when their time was imminent. As we waited and watched across our table was an old fashioned dial-type telephone receiver. This was to be used as a prop in a dance some of the older kids were doing to that Lady Gaga song. The phone was off the hook. This obviously annoyed my bizarre and brilliant little niece. She struggled to clamber down off my sister’s knee, made her way around the big table, dodging chairs and adults, replaced the telephone receiver on the hook, then made her way back around the table to clamber back onto her mummy's knee. The matter-of-fact seriousness with which she did this was hilarious. As I laughed and accused her of having OCD I noticed I was carefully tidying up the foil around the mouth of my Magner’s bottle. I was given a look as if to say hmm, who’s got OCD now?
I’ve seen end-of-year performances by dance schools before. They are largely not professional dance shows; their main purpose is to show what the students have been doing. For that reason the quality of the performers varies wildly. In the ballet performance about three of the dancers could dance, the rest were of descending quality eventually arriving at the old lady standing at the front left of the stage clumsily waving her arms around and helpless trying to copy the others. At first I honestly thought she was signing for the deaf; badly. Then she ran across the stage in vague emulation of one of the other dancers, and stood at the back waving her arms in a slightly different fashion.
The bar atmosphere and early afternoon timing of the Ludus review was perfect, as was the relatively short length (about 1hr 30). Compare this to the fascistic ordeal of the Stalder Academy of Dance and Performing Arts end-of-year show which I endured a few years back. At the time my girlfriend worked for them gaining her IDTA dance teacher qualification and I went to show my support. The show was in a highly formal setting in a theatre at RNCM, the children were forced to perform a matinee and an evening show, buy all kinds of expensive costumes, and I am not exaggerating at all when I say the show was over three hours long. It included vast sections of the two company owners murdering songs from Wicked and other in vogue musicals of the time. To top of this showering bilge of self-indulgence the evening was ended by Stalder herself talking and talking and talking, revelling in the sound of her own voice like a pig in stuff, for over forty minutes. Thanking this and that, and wittering about herself and her business partner, making me want to scream I confess I did it, just please make it stop, end the torture and I’ll sign anything you want.
The Ludus show wasn’t like that at all, much better, but I didn’t win anything in the raffle so it’s not all good.