Synthesis - Momentum Productions
2 March 2017, Q Theatre, Auckland
Reviewed by Amy Arnold
I like tap dancing. Something about it speaks to me of cheeky little kids, and that attitude was perfectly captured in the opening number of Momentum Productions latest show Synthesis. The group of four boys opened the show with a series of clever tap tricks which had the audience cheering for more. However, the best part of the dance for me was the stage presence of the dancers. They seemed to enjoy the piece as if it were their first time dancing; a valuable asset in an industry where every single step is practiced hundreds of times. The rest of the cast joined the boys for a jazzy group number, reminiscent of the 1940s. Giving the dancers a chance to establish the connections with each other before moving into the more emotionally charged contemporary numbers.
The jazzy opening numbers flowed perfectly into the more abstract contemporary pieces, and the dancers made seamless transitions between the moods of the different pieces. The contemporary section gifted us a quick glimpse at the younger generation of the company and they definitely held their own alongside the older team. I must say the highlight of this section was Leilani De Marco’s performance. Her stealthy movements and fox-like attitude in the contemporary pieces was completely captivating. The costume designer also deserves some well-earned praise for proving that on rare occasion unitards do actually work to enhance the dance (an impressive feat both for the dancers and costume designer).
While I had a clear favourite in the contemporary section the rest of audience seemed divided between the boys’ hip-hop number, with an insanely cool exit, or the ultimate breakup dance; a contemporary pas de deux, with enchanting music and stunning choreography which formed an image of how I wish all my breakups could play out. The dancers connection with each other was so on point that I later heard members of the audience say it almost brought them to tears.
I think Momentum must have saved the best for last, as the biggest highlight of the show was the final segment. A club setting with four incredibly fit, good-looking girls in leather boots, booty shorts and crop tops, and four guys salivating over them - while the rest of the audience (if they were anything like me) wanted to be the level of cool and sexy that the girls were. We didn't have much of a chance to envy them, because very quickly we became as much a part of the scene as the dancers. With the audience constantly whooping and cheering for the performers it added to the atmosphere in the room and the number felt like a massive party. This final scene was when it hit home for me why this show was so enjoyable. Because everything that had been done - from the dancing, to the choreography, to the costumes - had been done with passion and for the love of the show. And without someone's passion for the project would anything in the arts ever be done?