NIDA’s Parade Theatre
By Jessica Innes
Loredo Malcolm practices what he preaches in his newest work Ashe – the power and strength within. This revolutionary young choreographer shows an unconditional passion for the performing arts in his self-funded company LOcREaDO. In order to accumulate the funds to put on a show of such high calibre, Loredo performs eight times a week in the musical Hairspray, yet still has abundant energy to rehearse with his company after hours. The hard work has paid off. Ashe is a multifaceted masterpiece showcasing Sydney’s greatest up and coming talent in a polished and professional performance.
In the intimate setting of NIDA’s Parade Theatre, the audience was transported to the inside of a performing arts school. Here, the lessons these dancers learnt went far beyond what they expected as they faced their own insecurities, anger, passion and determination. The LOcREaDO dancers must be credited for their conviction of character and theatrical skills as their facial expressions and emotive movement clearly conveyed the mini dramas within.
The choreography further added to the intricate plot as Loredo took traditional classroom exercises and created a feast for the senses as the dancers interlaced kick and turn combinations across the room. This formal structure was harshly juxtaposed by the manic and problematic behavior of the students who showed no signs of hesitation in the zealously choreographed fight scenes. Such flawless transitions and confidence paid tribute to the hours of rehearsals that had obviously gone into the piece.
Strong themes of masculinity and femininity arose throughout the first act as the female dancers gyrated and wooed their male counterparts in the number The Hunted. In contrast, the sheer physical strength displayed by the men articulated the importance of owning your sexuality as a dancer.
A highlight of the show was definitely Brady Kitchingham’s moving and gravity defying solo. Brady combined incredible aerial stunts with succinct musicality as he had the whole audience gasping and cheering while he danced to Creep by Radiohead. The irony of such a song choice resided in the repeated lyrics “I wish I was special,” as this young dancer is without a doubt very talented and special.
Structured in 2 Acts, the second Act showcased Loredo Malcolm’s best work and showed influences of lyrical, contemporary, broadway jazz and sassy JFH, as well as traditional African dance. Loredo’s Jamaican heritage was prevalent throughout the entire show and his vocal skills were made known as he sang the famous Bob Marley song No Woman No Cry. The diversity of the dancers abilities were highlighted in this second act and their technicality was second to none as they showed no sign of preparation for triple pirouettes, lifts, floor work and jumps. The finale included 14-year-old guest performer Dayton Tavares, who was recruited for the show just days before opening night. Dayton wowed the audience with his vigour and maturity.
In a humble address to the audience, Loredo explained that his small company is a platform for dancers and choreographers to launch themselves and that any guidance and help is always much appreciated. The members of the company were grateful for such an opportunity and gushed about the experience after the show. Sophie Gospodarczyk stated, “There are too few opportunities in Australia to be a part of a show. You miss all of those backstage antics, getting to know a cast…and wearing eyelashes!” The joy of performing was evident in the dancers post show glow. Cast member Jayde Robinson reviewed her growth as a dancer throughout the process. “Working in a professional show allows you to have the opportunity to rework routines over and over again as opposed to in class. This gives you the opportunity to refine your work and focus on a greater attention to detail as a dancer”, Jayde shared. Cast members also praised the work of Loredo’s assistant Holly Headrick for her ability to “get that little bit extra” out of them.
All involved deserve to be congratulated for their contribution. The result was an inspiring show of technical brilliance, passionate performance, striking and exciting choreography and seamless production. The audience all witnessed the important lesson that perseverance pays off and that the strength to continue lies within.
Photo: Courtesy of www.locreado.com.au