Premium Blend – 2014 edition of my favorite dance performance. Except, not this year. I feel like I’ve enjoyed each year of Premium Blend less than the one before. But every time I’ve at least had one or two dances that I really liked, and a bunch of other decent stuff, often too much ballet. This year had exactly one thing I liked, and the rest was kind of meh. The dancers were good, no one screwed up, just kind of bad or boring choreography. The first one was a modern thing with a bunch of glass objects (mostly drinking glasses, but a couple other things too) that the dancers interact with. The dancing is fine, nothing great, and the prop stuff makes me nervous. It’s like improv, I can’t enjoy it because I’m too worried that a disaster is going to happen. The next was a very short duet, it was very average. Felt like a forgettable so you think you can dance duet. Then there was a series of dances based on motion. They were really kooky, but not in a way I enjoyed a lot. Some okay ideas, I suppose, but not great (plus some annoying music). Then there was dance of all men. I really liked it in theory, but it ended up being kind of a snoozer. The best thing was the kinda creepy old lady behind me had to say was that the men were good to look at (to be fair, I’m sure the number of times a creepy old man has said that about the girls in that auditorium is probably countless). Then there was a tango series that was pretty cool. It had a bunch of different pairs doing a bunch of different tango stuff. It was brief, but very cool. Last was an excerpt from a ballet. Probably a cool thing for them to do, but it wasn’t a ballet that excited me. I’m still not 100% on board with ballet, it has to be different, not the normal stuff, that is still a bit boring to me.
The Tempest – This was done at a space at Pima. It was decent. It was limited cast, people playing more than one character, which was done pretty well. The acting was good, the sets were minimal but sufficient. It wasn’t great, it didn’t feel amazingly professional. But for what it was I thought it was decent. I’d never seen or read the Tempest, but it’s a good enough story.
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana – This is, obviously, a flamenco show. It’s pretty standard, I think. Which isn’t to say it’s bad, it just doesn’t seem very different than other flamenco shows we’ve seen. The dancers are good, the musicians are good. Flamenco isn’t my #1 dance, it’s a ways down I suppose, but it’s cool. I don’t like the solos very much, but the group stuff and duet stuff is pretty good.
Sequence 8 – So this is a cirque du soleil kind of thing. They are french, I gather, and they are fucking ninjas. I’ve never seen a cirque show, even on video, let alone live. So I can’t really compare who is better at what, but these were pretty damn good. It is musical, which is good, some of it was as much dancing as anything. But the amazing stuff is the crazy acrobatics. There’s a trapeze dude who is pretty bad ass. A juggling dude that’s crazy. There’s a girl who can touch the ceiling bouncing on a flexible board called a russian bar. I googled it and I guess it’s common enough, but I hadn’t seen it before and it was amazing. I was pretty captivated from top to bottom, great show.
Guys & Dolls – I’ve never seen any form of this, it was pretty good. There were some real life troubles. The sign language interpreters were standing in front of us blocking 1/4 of the stage, which was frustrating (they could have moved 2 feet to the right, I think the people could still have seen them). And there was a legitimately crazy guy in the audience. Well, maybe not crazy, maybe just handicapped in some way, but rocking back and forth, making noises. There were police waiting for him at the end. Oh, also, someone had a cell phone conversation for a solid 45 seconds, no exaggeration. Yikes. But if I can somehow see past all the bullshit, the show was well done. The music is fun and the style is fun. It’s set in the 20s or so, and written in the 50s, so some of the attitudes are pretty antiquated, but it’s mostly fun. The people were pretty good singers, it was good.
Richter Uzur Duo – I’m not sure what I expected from this, but I really liked it. It’s a music professor or something from UA on guitar, kind of a classical guitar style though that might be wrong, and another dude on a cello. They play quite the variety. Some classical stuff, some covers of popular music (beatles, queen), some eastern european cultural stuff. All of it really good, really fun. Really enjoyable.