Seas of Love (2012)

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Seas of Love (2012)

SEA OF LOVE – Songs of the 60s & 70s
Choreographers: Jan Bolwell, Tania Kopytko, Jamie Bull, Sue Leask
Director: Jan Bolwell
Crows Feet Dance Collective

at Expressions Arts & Entertainment Centre – Upper Hutt, Wellington
From 31 Aug 2012 to 2 Sep 2012

Reviewed by Yolande Brophy, 1 Sep 2012
If I may begin with the end, let the mantra of spring be “dance the body music, it makes you feel so happy”. Osibisa (possibly the originators of world music in the 70s) call for the joyful expression of your soul and last night Crows Feet Dance Collective answered that call with abunDANCE!

The 34 mature dancers, who walk many different paths in their daily lives – teachers, librarians, counsellors administrators… – come together to extend themselves physically, mentally and possibly spiritually through the delights of dance. A programme of 15 songs, 14 performed on the night, an injury precluding the Supremes asking ‘Where did our love go?” In an evening of highlights it was not missed but served as a reminder that these dancers are the you and me’s of this world and the intense exertion their bodies go through to achieve performance level can have painful results if pushed too far.

So with the one lowlight noted, back to the happy place. Sea of Love is truly a celebration of womanhood in all its glory, grace, humour, beauty and pure pleasure. It is completely absorbing. By selecting love songs of the 60s and 70s, not only are we treated to some of the most beautiful female voices of all time, we also feast visually on the colour and forms of the era. Somehow these images awaken hope and, combined with music and performance, all things are possible again. Winter is leaving and spring is just around the corner. This production rapturously provides the gateway to the seasonal change and is conveyed impeccably by the maturity and vibrant enjoyment of the dancers.

Jan Bolwell, director and principal choreographer, composed our journey nimbly. Each performance honours the previous routine, compelling us toward a sense of triumph and unadulterated enjoyment. Harmony extends over the entire work. And so I must acknowledge her wonderful team, technical as well as performers, since it is the efforts of many that create such coherence in a work.

This makes it difficult to pick out stand-out elements but given that everyone has things that appeal deeply within their being I can, on reflection, isolate two moments, no three moments, when the emotive quality of the show transported me completely: the beginning of the Grandmother’s dance to Tanya Tucker’s version of ‘You Are So Beautiful’ (the middle and end as well, truth be told); the talking boots accompanying Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’; and the surprise of two dancers showing vocal prowess giving a female voice to ‘Yesterday’ while Michelle Scullion’s haunting flute provides the melody.

But the energy and fun imbued throughout the production ensures the complete package.

Finally I must confess I danced with the Crows for a while, although I didn’t perform with them, so to gain an objective view I took a friend who doesn’t go to live theatre much, let alone dance. At the interval her comment was, “They are such an inspiration!” And by the end: “I feel so happy.” She may even give it a go! And the inclusive philosophy of Crows Feet will surely welcome and support her if she does.

Go and be inspired. Who knows where it could lead!