DANZdance20 – celebrating 20 years of Wellington dance

Opera House, 16 November 2013

DANZ poster featuring Wellington BatucadaWe were quite honoured to be invited to close the show at the DANZdance20 celebration concert at the Opera House. I think they were looking for a crew that could get the audience up and dancing, and we were certainly able to do that.

We did a technical rehearsal in the early afternoon (I assume it’s the first time any of us have ever been on stage at the Opera House!) and then we headed off to the waterfront to do a bit of a warm-up / ninja gig / live rehearsal before our proper stage appearance at just after 5pm.

I’m not sure what the crowd made of us – normally we’re doing a proper show if we’re playing outside in public, but this one was more of a reahearsal-with-an-audience, so there were quite a few stops and starts and “let’s try that again”s going on. The crowd seemed to enjoy it nonetheless.

After a quick beer at Mac’s Brew Bar we headed back to the Opera House, where we waited in the Green Room which is directly beneath the stage until it was our turn to play.

Waiting in the Green Room – time for a final rhythm check – video by AliG

We crept up the stairs from the Green Room to the backstage area, and waited, deathly silent in the wings, so as not to be heard. We heard the compère announce our name, and on we trooped, together with four of our beautiful Batucada dancers.

Our 5-minute performance seemed to be over in no time – we did two Sambanui pieces – Bloco de Xango and Sambanui Samba Reggae and I think we pretty much nailed them, which was extremely gratifying because the tech rehearsal and the ninja gig had been a bit rough in places… it’s nice to know that “it’ll be all right on the night” can sometimes come true.

Bloco de Xango – video by Debbie Leader

At the end of our stage performance we’d been asked to split into two groups and make our way down the two sets of steps either side of the stage (while still playing – quite tricky!) and continue to play as we made our way through the theatre and out the back doors into the foyer.

During the tech rehearsal we’d played in the foyer for just a couple of minutes, but the acoustics were so good, and the audience (who followed us out into the foyer) were so enthusiastic that we just didn’t feel like stopping, so we played and danced for another 20 minutes or so.

Playing Samba and Six-eight in the foyer – video by Debbie Leader

It was lovely – one of those magical moments that you can’t plan in advance, they just happen sometimes. We could see passers-by on the street stop to listen with great big smiles on their faces, and the audience just stayed and stayed and danced with us as we played.

Very cool.

Photo gallery

Click on any thumbnail to see the larger version. All photos by Alan Shuker:

Media coverage

Dance show a fizzing, foot-tapping success

They were dancing in the theatre. They were dancing in the street. The infectious percussive beats and joyous dance of Wellington Batucada brought one of the most enjoyable and inclusive dance shows of the year to a fizzing, foot-tapping finish.

Dominion Post, 18 November 2013

DANZdance20 on YouTube

DANZdance20’s official post-concert video – with Wellington Batucada providing the soundtrack. Very cool!

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