I watch a lot of dancing. And more than that, I watch a lot of Really Good Dancing. I watch so much Really Good Dancing, that while I enjoy watching all levels of dancing, I'm rarely Excited watching dancing.
I was Excited to watch BBDC this year.
Taking on a slew of new dancers (shout-outs to Gary and April Dahl, Justin Carlson, Nicole Greibrock, Bonnie Inveen, Lisa Vogel, Tsha Marie, and Andrew Winett joining the veterans Christine Hallberg, Chris Kempainen, Julie Jacobson-Kendall, Deanne Michael, Jay Larson, and Shane Haggerty) and new choreography, the group performed three pieces, showing a huge range of ballroom styles from dark and emo Waltz to campy and silly Cha Cha.
My favorite piece happened to be the longest, so lucky me. "Waltzing Over Moon River" (choreographed by Lisa Vogel and Deanne Michael) started out slow, a couple doing very basic figures to, you guessed it, "Moon River". A lady behind me said, "I can do that"... Lady, just wait.
Next, Bonnie Inveen and Chris Kempainen performed a gorgeous duet that reminded me of the athletic, yet beautiful dancing that one would see at a ballroom dance competition: she twirls! he looks studly! they dance!
Then Waltz got funky.
April Dahl stomped on stage in her combat boots to drive Gary Dahl "Crazy" (dancing to the Aerosmith song; see what I did there?). Besides her ability to dance like a bad-ass in boots, I have to say one of the highlights of the show for me was watching April throw herself sideways at Chris and then LATCH ONTO HIM in one of the group numbers. Awesome.
I often tell people there should more aggression in their Waltz: more drive, more impulse, more "HOO-AHH", less pretty. That's where The Lisa Show came in. Taking the stage for "I Put A Spell on You", a very dark, large ensemble number about death, and the foreboding "Que Sera Sera", Lisa Vogel's work both on stage and choreographically was spooky, aggressive, and fun. Lisa's hard not to watch as she's a great dancer and has the accolades to prove it. Her effortless movement was distracting and Exciting.
Next was guest artists Tsha Marie and Andrew Winett from California's "He Said... She Said" piece, where I went going back and forth from thinking "Oh no, this is going to get un-Minnesotan real fast" to "MORE BURLESQUE". The whole piece hovered somewhere between the two and in the end, I wanted it to cross the line from Minnesota Nice to Too Sexy, especially when all the ladies came up with chairs. In the meantime, I loved Tsha's amazing red dress, the attractive cast numbers dancing the ensemble numbers, and Andrew's just-woke-up messy hair and shirt and well, just about everything about him.
Rounding out the show was the campy, over-the-top, and completely entertaining "Red Riding Hood" starring Deanne Michael as Little Red, Jay Larson as the naughty Wolf, and Julie Jacobson-Kendall as the boozy Grandma. Dancing to thoroughly modern music from Jack White, the lady protagonists attract the attention of, woo, and then defeat the debauchously saucy Jay Larson. It was funny, cute, and completed the wide arc of dancing that the company showcased.
Two years ago: Things I Like, in which I list things... that I like.