PANdADDY Production. Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne. Director: Anthony van Laast. Artistic Director: Chris Baldock. Set Designer: Es Devlin. Lighting: Designer Patrick Woodroffe. 23- 27 January, 2013

Pumping out any number of impressive moves, head spinning, and one armed hand stands this week comes Blaze, a celebration of street dancing, in Melbourne after its premiere in London’s West End, and tours of the Netherlands and the UK.

MC Tony Mills urges those gathered to ‘make some noise’ as sixteen dancers and breakers take the stage. After a rather languid opening we are thrust into a high energy and mega volume affair that maintains pace by launching into new songs before the previous one ends.

Don’t be fooled by its casual image. Like Jazz, this genre requires serious physical investment and discipline, and players stand about to encourage and congratulate the contributions of each to the whole.

The music of Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Kayne West, Michael Jackson, David Guetta, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rihanna and Calvin Harris plays second fiddle to a Gen Y smorgasbord of street dance styles.

Dancing aside. If for some reason you grow weary of the physical machinations on display, you could always watch the set and lighting design do their thing. The collaboration is impressively innovative, imaginatively manipulated and a lesson in precision and timing.

Highlights included the audience participation in ‘Atomic Food’ and the young dancer wrenched from the audience and onto the stage for the final fling.  On the downside, the MC audio giving instruction to the eager crowd was sometimes difficult to understand amidst the booming soundtrack.

Young dance-types dominated the audience, and lapped up the atmosphere. Fans on street dancing will love it.

Lucy Graham

Photographer: Roy Beusker.

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