Puttin’ on the Ritz is a song and dance spectacular, channeling old Hollywood glamour, coming to Australia for a national tour. It features acts from a selection of famous music and dance from the golden age of the musical: George Gershwin, Cole Porter, “I Got Rhythm”, Alexander’s Ragtime Band and, of course, “Puttin’ on the Ritz” are all brought to life. Dancers and vocalists revive the iconic music and indulgent spirit of the age, and the varied and idiosyncratic styles of dance.
One of the dancers in Puttin’ on the Ritz is Lewis Herring. Herring trained at the University of West London and Bird College and has worked for Le Lido in Paris and West End pantomimes.
“My role in Puttin’ on the Ritz will be extremely physical,” Herring tells Dance Informa. “The ensemble of the show are made up of five male dancers and five female dancers, who, while rarely leaving the stage, will cover a range of different dance styles: from tap to old school ballroom but with stylish choreography by Emma Rogers instilling these classic styles with a fresh, new feel. I’ll have a range of quick changes to make whilst having the luxury of wearing beautiful costumes.”
Another of the dancers in Puttin’ on the Ritz is Chloe Gatward. She trained at Laine Theatre Arts in London, and has performed at The London Caberet Club, West End pantomimes and numerous touring dance extravaganzas.
“I am a dancer in the show, and this will be my third time touring with Puttin’ on the Ritz,” Gatward says. “I am very excited to be returning to Australia to perform in one of my favourite shows. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are two of the greatest influences from the golden age of Hollywood. They made everything look effortless and simple, yet their dances were so captivating and exciting to watch. Fred Astaire has massively impacted the evolution of the styles and genres of dance that we have today.”
Herring adds, “I have always adored Fred Astaire. His style, movement, and his absolute passion and love for dance is unparalleled. He has a natural grace in the way he dances and performs with such ease, you cannot deny he is a master of his craft. Gene Kelly is another performer whom I will attempt to embody whilst learning Emma Rogers’ choreography.”
Gatward agrees that Rogers is also very influential. “Emma has a very clean and sophisticated style and creates classy choreography,” she says. “I have also always been inspired by Cynthia Rhodes, as I think she is the perfect example of a strong yet elegant dancer, and her dance scenes in both Flashdance and Dirty Dancing are two of my favourites.”
Herring’s tips for young dancers out there auditioning are to “listen and see what other people are doing to make themselves stand out for good reasons or bad. I tend to start at the back of an audition room and work my way forward. Always be polite, always say thank you. Even if you get cut, the casting team have spent a lot of time and money to see you, so thank them for their time. Remember, they know you now, you may not have been right for this job, but there could be something in the future. The best thing you can do is bring your personality to the room and perform. Try and be open and approachable; no one has time to work with grumpy performers.”
Puttin’ on the Ritz is direct from London in an Australian national tour from 30 May – 30 June. To find out more or to find a venue near you, visit www.mellenevents.com.au/current-tours/puttin-on-the-ritz.
By Tamara Searle of Dance Informa.