Kelly Aykers Full Time Gets Dirrty With Dynamism
Kelly Aykers Full Time School presents RAW Mid Year Showcase
Melbourne Dance Centre, Brunswick VIC, 8:30pm
The cast stretches on stage while audiences gather slowly into the theatre. Dancers only wear variations of black Lorna Jane, Lulu Lemon and Nike apparel. Lighting is minimal and the wings almost reflect an open plain. When Kelly said raw, she was not lying.
The Melbourne Dance Centre is a fairly retro space—intimate but still spacious enough that is a struggle for singers to project without a microphone. The students have a thirst for dance, which comes through their strong performance energy and cheeky charisma. The extraordinary level of choreography is a true testament to Kelly Aykers, and how her school magnetises the likes of Etienne Khoo, Donnie Dimase, Jordan Herbert, Phill Haddad, Dana Jolley, Gerard Pigg, Sue Ellen Shook, Luke Alleva, Andrew J Liu, Rebekah Davey, Josephine Magliolo and Keeva Svikart. Some of these choreographers are still emerging artists, yet having this sort of intricate and out-of-the-box choreography must be rewarded to them. The dancers have clearly listened to the direction of the choreographers, as their personal style is visible in the execution.
The highlight number is Jordan Herbert’s ‘Dirrty,’ which is classic commercial jazz with Herbert’s flair for punchy choreography. It seems, on the whole, the dancers have a hip-hop dominance, executing the moments with fantastic lines and bringing sassy style. The audience cheers and encourages the dancers during these type of numbers, which in turn ramps up the execution within the dancers. One little number that is thoroughly enjoyed is the hybrid solo—about a girl who is unhappy doing ballet and desperately desires to be a hip hopper. The choreography itself is a hybrid of contemporary and hip hop, which blends perfectly into the storyline. This dancer should be commended for her execution and performance.
However, technique does need to be looked at more carefully, especially in the pointe routine. It is reassuring to see some girls not on pointe, but watching their technique with strong concerns for their safety leaves some dents my ability to enjoy the number. The tap routines are refreshing to see, with spicy and fast choreography, however, this is far too basic for full-time students. Rarely do they expand beyond locomotive shuffles and stamps. It will be fruitful to offer wings, complex pickups and harder time steps for the end of year showcase. However, the routines are quite clean and still extraordinarily dynamic on the eye.
Universally speaking, the showcase offers great stead for the rest of the year and talent is certainly in no short supply. The dancers are fit and fast approaching the goal of being professionally ready to enter the industry. Kelly is to be commended for her rapid expansion of her establishment, which has only been open three years. It just lends so much credit to her for being on the same level as her full-time competitors.
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