“Finding Neverland” flew into Segerstrom Center for the Arts awakening the inner child of everyone.
The delightful musical draws on inspiration of how one family’s dynamic became the catalyst behind playwright’s J. M. Barrie’s beloved story of Peter Pan. The Davies children and their mother’s transformational arc strikes healing chords of hope and possibility despite dismal or limiting circumstances.
Music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and book by James Graham shape a turn of the century London narrative that makes everyone a believer of possibility again.
Mia Michael’s choreography shined with her visceral movement and a storytelling heartbeat. I always love watching how she can use the simple inhale of breath with a head movement to bring power to the scene. Her ingenious use of a table or bench broaden a dancer’s vocabulary and is a playground for athleticism. Her use of rhythm was amazing with sticks being used as time clock hands and the dancers hitting the floor in unison. This show uniquely has the cast create expansive shapes that result in engaging positive and negative space. From each arm reach to flex foot I was entertained.
The other positives for the show are numerous.
The children (Ben Krieger as Peter, Finn Faulconer as George, Mitchell West as Jack and Tyler Patrick Hennessy as Michael) were so endearing with pure vocals and genuine emotion. They carry a great portion of the show and gave amazing performances that equally matched the adult leads.
Billy Harrigan Tighe as J.M. Barrie and Christine Dwyer as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies showed the beauty of friendship and the importance of taking stock of reality while never losing the capability of wonder and play. It is Sylvia’s health state (you don’t discover until later) that grounds many moments making the search for optimism and glimmers of imagination to go on so relevant. J.M. Barrie’s discover of story within reality is heart-touching with the relationships with the children.
Tom Hewitt as Charles Frohman/Captain James Hook serves as an excellent contrast coming in with daringly fun temptations of darkness whether in spirit of skepticism or physical alter-ego.
The special effects in the show are astounding leaving moments long to be cherished as happy thoughts.
Treat your family and yourself to some happy thoughts by taking them to see “Finding Neverland” on tour. Please check the website for dates.
It was so refreshing to see J.T. Church and Robert Roldan’s jazz performance to “Stand In The Light” by Jordan Smith on last night So You Think You Can Dance: Next Generation!
There was a depth of emotion and maturity emanating from the youngest contestant who stood on the shoulders of his dancer mentor Robert and jumped in tandem. It was touching to experience the strength behind mentoring the next generation in support and encouragement to share their gifts and be who they are.
Connecting with someone younger or older than you can grant you a unique perspective that inspires you to grow. The beautiful relationship between all-star and contestant was highlighted in the acceptance of doing life together with the exchange of power and blessings.
I am so thankful for my mentors who have given me wings to fly and are leaving me a legacy of wisdom to help grow my character. Who can you mentor or what generation do you need to reach out and connect with?
For more dancing and great partnerships tune in to Mondays on Fox at 8pm.
These are the opening lyrics to “Stand In the Light”
Didn’t I tell you I hear what you say
Never look back as you’re walking away
Carry the music the memories and keep them inside
You laugh everyday
Don’t stop those tears from falling down
This is who I am inside
This is who I am I’m not gonna hide
Cause the greatest risk we’ll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
So stand in the light and be seen as we are
With courage and kindness hold on to your faith
You get what you give and it’s never to late
To reach for the branch and climb up leaving sadness behind
You fight hard for love
We can never give enough
Have an awesome rest of the week where you can share and be yourself! Encourage someone to own who they are!
The 1st annual Beat MS Dance Walk takes place tomorrow where artists, dancers and people who want to make a positive difference dance and walk towards a cure for multiple sclerosis. If you are in the LA area tomorrow check out joining the National MS Society, Courtney Galiano and Philip Byron to help end and raise awareness about multiple sclerosis.
You may recognize Courtney’s name from her association with “So You Think You Can Dance.” Her courage in sharing her multiple sclerosis diagnosis as a professional dancer and her willingness to do something about it is a shining inspiration.
Other “SYTYCD” dancers involved with the event are Chelsie Hightower, Mark Kanemura, Neil Haskell, Dominic Sandoval, Comfort Fedoke, Robert Roldan, Kathryn McCormick, Marko Germar, Jeanine Mason and Ashley Galvan.
I am so thankful for the power of movement whether it be walking or dancing to express emotions, entertain and engage an audience to do something positive!
Many of the “So You Think You Can Dance” choreographers among other brilliant artists are nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Choreography. The 65th prime-time Emmy awards airs live tomorrow starting at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. To watch all the nominated dance numbers click here. One of my favorite numbers is “Circle of Life” choreographed by NappyTabs.
Love is patient and kind but is love really blind?
HighPoint: Yesterday’s episode of “So You Think You Can Dance” featured a contemporary dance number showcasing dancers Jasmine Mason and Alan with Travis Wall choreography. The dancers were blindfolded adding another layer of intimacy where raw touch was the vehicle that let each dancer see into each other. The lifts with the rise and fall drew upon a foundation of trusting each other and themselves. I liked how Jasmine fearlessly dove backwards into Alan’s arm illustrating the idea of “leap and the net will appear.” It appeared that each dancer’s hearts were open to reality in accepting each others flaws and moving onwards as a unit. We shall if both dancers move onwards in the show when voting results are given next week.
Surprise moment:Fik-Shun (name pronounced fiction) dancing contemporary with dancer Amy and Sonya Tayeh’s choreography. It was nice to see a male dancer outside his dance genre inhabit the spirit of the dance. Fik Shun’s commitment to movement and partnering elevated Amy’s performance making for a mesmerizing routine and partnership closing the night out.
Looking Forward: It will be interesting to see how America votes and I hope to see dancer Nico in another dance genre other than hip-hop because he has great potential. Tune in next week on Fox Tuesday 8/7c.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” -Helen Keller
The auditions and Vegas week are over and the live performance shows are just around the corner! However, last night Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” revealed their top 20 dancers! It was nice to see choreographer Mia Michaels back and the more diversified dance genres represented this year. The judging panel included executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Adam Shankman.
High Point: The Top 10 guys perform a routine choreographed by Christopher Scott. I always enjoy the use of music by Nathan Lanier used in SYTYCD routines such as “Ra,” “Velocity,” or “Resolve” because it has an intensity that sets the stage for impactful movement. The use of the sand served as an extension of the dance’s story and was handled with ferocity and delicacy.
Surprise Moment: Hip-Hop dancer Mariah Spears performing a Luther Brown routine. We did not get to see much of her in Vegas this year and I was delightfully surprised by her fierceness and personality.
Looking Forward:I am excited to see the new dance pairings and the new performances next Tuesday. Amy Yakima and Jenna Johnson already won me over and it will be nice to get to know the other dancers better when they dance outside their comfort zone.
What was the high point for you during the show and what are you looking forward to? Tune in next week to see the Top 20 perform live for your votes on Fox at 8/7c.