I do indeed ‘live through dance’.

So after a whirlwind 24 hours in which I travelled and arrived at home and watched a show, I have now travelled back to my humble home away from home for the last two weeks of my first year at university. The journey wasn’t without its bus traffic, but the brand new Starbucks at the station definitely helped (note to self: STOP SPENDING MONEY ON STARBUCKS!). But, this was just a sweet 1% of the day. I arrived at Milton Keynes station with my dad and sister ready to pick me up and take me home so I could take my sister to see a show!

My little sister Phoebe and I went to see Pasha Kovalev’s 2015 Live Tour: ‘Live Through Dance’. I’d booked the tickets the day in which they were released and managed to purchase the tickets on the front row both splitting centre stage. I’m so glad I did. It made the whole experience. When my sister found out we had the tickets, she cried! She’d been pestering me for weeks and weeks saying LOOK THEY’RE SELLING OUT and it took all my might to not break the secret. Alas, I did not and I’m relieved the tickets were not too close or the music was too deafening. The whole night was perfect, and here’s why. Okay, so I may not be able to remember exactly EVERY dance that was performed during the two hour set, as quite frankly there were so many costume changes and little bits and pieces which helped to make the show. But, there were so many parts of the show in which I can remember. One major part being right at the end when during the bows when my sister and I definitely shared eye contact with all the professionals and shared a boogie together! Oh and when we were so close, my sister and I felt all their sweat on us. The featured image was before the show started, in which we were so happy to see our shared crush. Pasha is just absolutely beautiful/gorgeous/handsome/charming/sweet/witty/wonderful… the type of guy I know that if I brought home with me, Mum would be very happy.

Anyway, enough about Pasha Kovalev himself for the moment. Yes, he is the current professional winner of Strictly Come Dancing alongside his celebrity partner, Caroline Flack. For this show, however, there was not a celebrity performance in sight. The show consisted of Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis and four other professional dancers, each of them incredible and strengthening the show as a whole. They really put the performance, sparkle, glitz and glamour for a show which was such a high calibre. I know for certain I’m going to watch more of their dances in the future. The cast consisted of Ryan Hammond, Marcella Solimeo, James Wilson and Leila Stewart. Although the show was obviously fixated around the professional relationship of both Pasha and Anya, showcasing their talents which have made them both Strictly professional sweethearts, the two ensemble partners each shared a dance in which it was a solo performance between them (I’d use ‘pas de deux’ but I wasn’t at the Nutcracker, even though they were all cracking). I particularly enjoyed Ryan’s topless body (eat your heart out Chippendales!), the fiery passion evident through James’ dancing, and the clean lines of both Marcella and Leila. Although, saying this, all three girls performing made me wish that I was dancing from an even younger age. I do envy them A LOT.

Okay, so onto a few of my favourite numbers of the show that are still stuck in my head. Clearly, with a show that was on a professional level such as this, a foot was not put wrong. And I do hope you just appreciated the dance-related pun there; feet, dance, movement… I tried. All of the movements were fluid when they needed to be, soft and graceful in the waltz and rumba. On contrast, the paso doble number saw domination and control in a way that was ensuring the Spanish spice exuded throughout the whole of the theatre. It definitely did for me! Although, saying this, I do love when a cape is used. On the programme itself, it can really highlight and showcase the male, whether amateur or professional. In this case, it was the perfect break demonstrating another skill in which all the males had clearly been practicing. However, my favourite part of the section was the silence. For a few short seconds, it was clear all six dancers had fully transfixed the audience into the story that they were telling. Then, the males started clapping. This syncopated rhythm was flawless, and whilst simple, its perfect execution really added to the piece as a whole. It’s something that has got me thinking for potential future choreographic opportunities that I may have, and how I can incorporate something such as this into a performance. It really worked!

Another musical number that I particularly enjoyed was the first number of the ‘Love’ section. Prior to this, Pasha spoke to the audience and discussed his feelings towards love (sadly, there was no mention of Rachel Riley), and that he wanted us to enter the stories of unconditional love which were about to be portrayed. The first number was performed to the tune ‘Put A Spell on You’, made famous by Annie Lennox, however its use in the recent blockbuster ’50 Shades of Grey’ has brought the song back to life for a second generation to appreciate. This dance was performed by the three males and Anya Garnis, and really evoked the sense of female domination and control, exuding the glamour of the Strictly world. I particularly enjoyed the lifts which used all three men, as these lifts are rarely seen on the programme due to the nature of the competition. But, it showed how much a story can told solely through the medium of movement.

However, not all the dances conveyed a sultry manner such as this one. Whilst Anya had a particularly strong, lustful gaze, I also appreciated the comedic value of the dance set to ‘Kiss’. This was the number which my sister was talking about in the car for the journey home. She and I both enjoyed it as it showed just how fun dancing can be, and how simplistic routines when executed flawlessly can look better than a complicated routine full of flaws, something which I have witnessed in shows many a time. Also, I think my sister enjoyed it purely for the crass references to the male area. She’s young, she thinks everything related to ‘Sex’ is the most hilarious thing in the world. But, she was whooping along to the number, something which I was also doing many a time. I think we were the youngest two in the audience that had come purely to see Pasha, and this was not an issue in the slightest! Pasha had registered we were attending via a tweet I sent him*, therefore there were many a moment shared between us three, making us feel like the only ones in the room.

*follow me please, @ellensoph

This was particularly the case with two of the most upbeat, Latin numbers of the show. Both Boogie Shoes, performed with the Glee Cast version in tow (one of my favourite Glee covers) and Uptown Funk as made famous by Bruno Mars got me dancing in my seats, and their feet dancing towards us. I’m pretty sure at one moment I caught Anya looking at me staring at her feet. I don’t have a foot fetish, I was in awe of how pointed and delicate and wonderful they were. Plus, it does help that as I said, this version of Boogie Shoes is one of my favourite songs, so it was destined to be a great number in my eyes! Similarly, Uptown Funk really carried the essence that’s synonymous with the music video. The cool, collected sophistication matched with the ‘ooh’s’ and ‘ah’s’ particularly by James further drew the audience in. I also loved the end moves, and will definitely be whacking them out on future nights out, all while knowing I’m as talented as Strictly Come Dancing dancers (she hopes, she thinks).

One factor which I have yet to discuss but most definitely made the whole show were the costume department. All of the outfits were absolutely gorgeous. When they needed to be princess-like for ballroom numbers, they were truly ethereal. When they needed to be hot little playsuits for the Latin numbers, they carried so much fringing, every move must have whipped the girls in the calf muscles. The costume department was clearly a massive factor of the show. Although I didn’t count, and in hindsight I wish I had, I think Anya wore at least 15 costumes; every dance carried a different outfit. One change was so fast, it led my sister and I to exclaim ‘how was that done?’. As a performer myself, I have had many a quick change, but it will forever remain a mystery as to how some costumes were changed so fast. Kudos to the costume department, in which I do not know your names but you made the show! Also, a wonderful job was done by the lighting and sound technicians, who perfectly captured the mood for each number, and really got me into the party spirit!

Overall, the whole show was an absolute success, but two things would have made it even better:

  1. I wish Pasha and Anya did come out and sign our programmes. I appreciate that their schedule is busy, but it was a disappointment to not see them, as I wanted to congratulate them.
  2. I wish Pasha brought me up on stage so I could kiss him.

Okay, so for song time, and this was an easy choice! Even with so many musical numbers in the show, I have decided to choose the song which closed the first half. This was one of my favourite performances, as it was just happy and it was clear the dancers had lost all their inhibitions and they were free, living life to the full. Moreover, the song was a song I found myself singing along to during the performance, and is an oldie but a classic. As the title of the tour suggests, I in particular, but we all do indeed ‘live through dance’. With this in mid, I encourage you to listen to the song ‘Dance Again’ by Jennifer Lopez to get you in the party mood.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjgFH01k0gU

Enjoy,

Sophie x

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