My only experience of dance previous to this show was watching Step Up repeatedly throughout my teenage years (mainly due to Channing Tatum’s involvement) and the one street dance lesson that ensued. I therefore felt I had the exact same amount of knowledge as the average spectator of Dance Exposé’s The Good Life.
The show (which ran from the 19th – 22nd of February) aimed to represent the whole life process from conception and the first day of school through to the ruckus that is the retirement home. These and the other 32 scenes enabled a variety of dance that was appropriate to the emotion of the specific time of life. The expose team delivered everything from serene, expressionistic dance, to elegant ballet, and boob-popping (terminology my own) butt-shaking numbers. I assume they had such a large number of scenes to try and showcase an element of every individual’s talent, but this made the show too long, leaving the second act lacking the punchy impact of the first.
However, the choreography of Dance Exposé president, Melanie Cuffe was the highlight of the show. She and Liv Kahn choreographed the opening scene ‘Conception’ in which the Dance Exposé team represented a reproducing organism, gradually growing and developing in size which looked spectacular thanks to their large numbers. Teamed with the momentous Tear Drop by Massive Attack the scene instigated a poignant start to the show. It was also Cuffe’s choreography that broke the monotony of the second act. The scene ‘Behind Closed Doors’ cleverly depicted the ‘average’ family hierarchy and the dramatic clashes that occur which engaged the audience after the interval.
The biggest strength of the Dance Exposé team was demonstrated in ‘Retirement Home After Dark.’ Their ability to have fun and, most importantly, conveying that energy to the audience resulted in the scene being a personal favourite. Every member was fast forwarded sixty years to a hilarious dance off occurring in a retirement home. Complete with beer bellies, sore backs and walking sticks each member played their elderly alter ego’s to perfection.
The show was produced to a high standard that imparted a certain level of professionalism. This was let down by the music which, though was flawless in choice, was mixed badly and resulted in an issue of continuity. Though The Good Life was highly entertaining it did lack a male presence which is a rather integral part to the process of Life. The scene ‘The Chase,’ showcased Ciara Tully and the exceptional Will Barbarisa as a couple in the midst of pursuit. The pair had a great chemistry that was lacking from the rest of the production due to the majority of its members being female.
I would highly recommend that if you have any interest in dance you go and check out a membership for our uni’s relatively young dance group. The camaraderie amongst the members suggests it is a fantastic society to be a member of. The Dance Exposé team produced a highly entertaining show that you should go and watch next year. It is guaranteed to brighten up a dull winters evening.
Photos: Leo Garbutt