Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Salon de Dance, March 11, 2009 ****

Salon de Dance by Finucane & Smith
 La Mama, Wed to Sun until March 29
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on March 11, 2009

Salon de Dance, created by Moira Finucane and Jackie Smith, is not merely a show; it is a place, an experience, a salon in the French style filled with the flavour of cabaret, burlesque, and all sorts of dance and music. It is a sweet bag of mixed lollies to tantalise the tastebuds.

Following the shy hula-hooper (Jess Love), is our wry, cool hostess (Maude Davy) who introduces, with a recitative song, the Salon and its sultry dancers and proceeds to speak to us using slow, hilarious French. “Le Francais est mauvais mais les jambes sont belles”. (“The French is bad but the legs are beautiful.”)

In a satirical, sensual striptease, Paul Cordeiro, dressed (and undressed) as an exotic priest, peels off his vestments right down to the skin. Rob McCredie charms us with his naïve, open quality and his abstract dance, Here We Go, with its almost clown-like gestures.

In The Saints, Finucane appears in a dim light as a punk who drizzles cigarette smoke from her mouth while she circles in ultra-slow motion. Her movements are all based on various saints and martyrs such as St. Sebastian, although this is not evident to an audience.

Yumi Umiumare is a well-dressed woman who is trapped in a coat with a mind of its own. Two women wearing kitten masks (Holly Durant, Harriet Ritchie) perform a cute and peppy, rhythmic dance that ends up a competition to the death.

During interval, in the courtyard, audience members can buy a waltz with one of the dancers. What follows is The Banquet Room, a bizarre dance macabre by Finucane  and Umiumare. It is a slow and tortured dance of struggle that draws on the Japanese Butoh dance style.

Maude Davy sings the jazz ballad, Sugar, draped languidly on the stair banister. Durant and Ritchie do a comical dance in blonde wigs and fake boobs and Cordeiro’s Bollywood dance is delicious. Finally, we all get to dance to ABBA when the show ends.

Salon de Dance really knows how to show an audience a good time with a program of delectable and unusual acts.
By Kate Herbert

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