Dance | Nine to Five
Riley Smith Hall, Leeds University Union
Until February 9
Dance Exposé Society
The Dance Exposé show ‘Nine to Five’ takes on the daily grind, piecing its two-hour performance into a narrative that mirrors a regular working day. This particular 9 to 5 is nowhere near mundane however, as Dance Exposé cover every career imaginable, from bin men and morning commuters to bankers and break dancing astronauts, even managing to bring some glitz and glamour to a morning weather report. Dance Exposé have really rooted this show in present day, with relevant and amusing links to last year’s Olympics in a Chariots of Fire-esque tap dance.
The show includes a real range of dance genres, which the dancers have no trouble in mastering as they freely move from one genre to the next. What is most impressive, however, is that not only can these students dance- they can really act as well. The body language and facial expressions they bring to each character really add to the piece, comical in some aspects and quite moving in others. More than anything you can tell how much the dancers are enjoying performing the show.
Different dance styles are artfully placed to make sure the audience is always wondering what to expect next, and in some dances genres are blended together for beautiful aesthetic effect. A real stand out performance however has to be that of William Barbarinsa in his solo as a street sweeper, playing with tempo and audience expectations. Another highlight is a slower, moving contemporary piece with a ‘Military Wives’ inspired theme, as all dancers wear Remembrance Day poppies.
The ‘daily routine’ narrative does lose itself around the middle of this piece, and at times with all 48 dancers on stage it is not as tight as other dances are. However this show really is the spectacle Dance Exposé were hoping for: an engaging, high energy, entertaining show.
Leeds Student met up with the society to discuss how they create such successful productions
LS: Can you give us a brief summary of what ‘Nine to Five’ is about?
DE: ‘Nine to Five’ is a Dance Exposé twist on the daily grind, featuring everything from break-dance to ballet, commercial to contemporary. We’ve got every career covered in this show, from break-dancing bin men to astronauts in a show focused on spectacle and entertainment.
LS: Do you have a single choreographer or do you find yourselves bouncing ideas off each other?
DE: Each individual dance is choreographed by one or two people, but once in the rehearsal process we do find ourselves making changes and contributing to new ideas in a group effort. There are around twenty different people choreographing individual dances that contribute to the final show, so it is certainly a group effort!
LS: This show covers many different styles of dance. How easy is it to find dancers able to do all of them?
DE: Most of our dancers are able to perform the different styles in this show, though some have specialities. Exposé is exciting in that sense as it lets people try out new styles they can then perform. We like mixing up dance styles in our performances to keep our audience engaged, always wondering which different style is going to come next!
LS: Leeds Student reviewed your last show in November, which took place in Mine. How does performing in the Riley Smith feel in comparison?
DE: Our November show had a real intimate, club atmosphere. This is our big show of the year, and it feels fitting that we’re on a big stage with a large audience, performing a really entertaining piece. We’ve been working with Backstage Society to give each dance it’s own setting via projections and lightings, so hopefully we’ve really created a visual treat!
words: Jessica Hilton
photos: Silver Cut Productions