You may recall my interview with Jennifer Masters, creator of this show and co-founder of Masters of Choreography, the Australian company behind Beats on Pointe.
Georgia-Mae Rutland and Brodie Chesher in Beats on Pointe
Now it is time to enjoy the full show, a fusion of ballet, street dance and hip hop, with thirteen talented and versatile dancers. As someone who enjoys all forms of dance, I can appreciate traditional work en pointe just as much as breakdancing and movement to the accompaniment of beatboxing.
This show does take a bit of time to lower the lights and get going, with a dance contest opener which reminded me of the gym hall sequence in West Side Story, as two opposing factions circle each other in competition.
Phillip Egan in Beats on Pointe
Soon, though, ballerinas become street dancers, acrobats pirouette, and everything loosens up into a joyous celebration of music (whether Chaka Khan, the Jackson 5, Wham, Eminem, Bruno Mars or other pulsating tracks which melt into each other) and movement.
All the cast are energetic, gifted and dedicated dancers, from Danny Williams’s exuberant tumbling to the grace of Rebecca Selkirk, from the impish posturing of Brodie Chesher to the wiry athleticism of Taylor Diamond-Lord. Musicianship and rhythm is on display, too.
The company of Beats on Pointe
You’ll see lit-up costumes (so many changes of costumes, I lost count), inventive use of props, flashes of humour, head spins, torches, moments of beauty where the limits of what the human body can do is on display, and a fantastic soundtrack.
I spent the entire evening with a smile on my face, in the company of a show which sets out to entertain and does it beautifully, encouraging its audience to clap, shout, scream and engage.
The show continues at the Peacock Theatre until the 16 June, then tours. Photo credits Heidi Victoria.
Known for pushing conventional dance boundaries, Masters of Choreography is back with their worldwide sell out show Beats on Pointe, a dynamic modern story of two opposing dance worlds; street vs ballet.
The Peacock Theatre in Holborn is the venue for Australian’s hit dance fusion show, Beats on Pointe, which returns from 21 May to 16 June 2019. You can expect dance, beat boxing, break dancing, and much more as ballet and street dance comes together, and it looks to be a very exciting show for theatre, dance and ballet fans alike.
I asked Jennifer Masters, the show’s director, producer, writer and director of choreography, to tell me a bit more about the show in advance of its opening.
The advance publicity promises a ballet and street mash-up where “opposing worlds clash”. Is this particularly exciting for you as the main creator and choreographer of the show, and where did the original idea come from?
I am extremely excited to be able to see my vision come to life on stage. Ballet is the foundation of all dance and my personal passion lies within street dance so creating this fusion as a commercial dance theatre production is something that has been whirling around in my mind for a very long time.
I have always loved fusing genres in my choreography as I feel that it makes for exciting and dynamic entertainment, so to take this methodology to the stage in the manner that I have presented in Beats on Pointe is absolutely magnificent!
There are comic moments amongst the classic and contemporary dance moves – what can an audience for Beats on Pointe expect for entertainment?
Beats on Pointe is more than just a dance show, it is a dance theatre extravaganza. Keeping this in mind, I wanted to ensure that I presented elements outside of choreography that would entertain the audience and keep them fixed on what was happening on the stage.
Comedic moments are displayed throughout the entire show, as well as live percussion, singing, beatboxing and audience participation. When I merge all these elements along with an upbeat killer soundtrack, it makes for a fantastic, feel-good experience that is unquestionably breath-taking!
It must be interesting for the dancers to explore different facets of their profession. How has the fusion of styles and backgrounds impacted on the creative process?
I have thoroughly enjoyed watching my dancers train outside their comfort zones and beyond their usual genres of dance and performance. My vision and creative process is thorough and encompassing whereby I ensure that I am able to extract the best artistry out of each of my performers.
I enjoy finding talents beyond their dance training so that I can bring their unique variety of skills to my stage. In this regard, the various backgrounds of training and experience from my cast has definitely impacted on the creative process.
Where possible and keeping in line with my creative vision, I utilise the additional skillsets that these performers bring with them, many times pushing the boundaries of my vision and the abilities of the dancers. I will never compromise my show nor my dancers, but I will push the limits to create brilliance!
The poster advertising the show is so vibrant, colourful and evocative. How important is it that the technical side of the production complements the different dance styles, or have creative choices been made which will surprise us?
I like to think that our show poster along with the Beats on Pointe stylistic lettering, with its vibrancy, colour and energy, portrays exactly what I want to convey to anyone considering to see this show – that it will be modern, edgy and electric entertainment.
As with any stage show, it goes without saying that the technical side of the production needs to complement the various dance styles and performances on stage, however, I have ensured that what happens on my stage can stand on its own merits, that the creativity, energy and performance value is always exciting and memorable.
Each component of the show has a ‘WOW’ factor. I wanted to ensure that if an audience member walks into my show at any given time, that they will not be able to take their eyes off the stage.
What have been your influences in ballet, street and hip-hop? Do you like to pay homage to any of the ground-breaking artists of the past?
The influences on this show and my creative process are many and eclectic with both music artists and dancers inspiring my creative process. I can immediately name artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov whom I also had the pleasure of seeing perform live on stage and whom has always inspired me; there is also Janet and Michael Jackson who impacted my dance career immensely and others such as the dancers from movies like Breakdance and Beat Street which were released throughout my youth and that had a huge impact on the dance scene. I do pay homage to some of my influences in this show but you will need to see Beats on Pointe to see what I have created for your entertainment.
Tell me a bit about the musical choices for Beats on Pointe. Will anything particularly shock or move audiences?
I am extremely proud of the music selection for Beats on Pointe. Each choice of music was made with the thought that it had to portray the energy and positivity of the show, without taking away the fun and feel-good factor I wanted our show to provide to our audience.
The show will not shock anyone because of its music content or lyrics but what may shock is the choice of music made for the piece that is being performed, such as a ballerina performing to an Eminem track. There are also numerous moments that the music and the performance of our dancers will move our audience with a mixture of emotions ranging from joy to a calming awe.
Overall, the response to my musical selection has been outstanding and due to the audience demand, I am proud to say that you can now order the Beats on Pointe soundtrack!
What is coming up next for Masters of Choreography?
London is an exciting part of the global tour we have planned for our Beats on Pointe show. We have dates locked in throughout the world over the next couple of years and are very excited with this tour.
Beats on Pointe has a sister show called Raise the Barre which we will be bringing to the international stage in 2020 as well. In addition to our yearly showcases and events, we also have other shows in the development stage and are also focused on a few new avenues of entertainment that we will announce over the next year. We are proud of our achievements and look forward to taking our shows and events throughout the world. As we like to say – All for the love of dance!