|VINTAGE JUKEBOX- dance show- presented by LAMTA, Cape Town|
When: June 14-24 2023 – scroll down for box, withperformance times
Where: Theatre on the Bay. Camps Bay, Cape Town
Tickets: R250 and R150 for group and student bookings (10+)
Booking link: https://www.webticket.co.za/v2/Event.aspx?itemid=1528567741
Group bookings: For group bookings – student discounts or more information, contact Ingrid at firstname.lastname@example.org
Loved. Loved. Loved LAMTA’s Vintage Jukebox. The show is a tribute and homage to the era of the 1920s – Swing and speakeasies, jazz, Prohibition time in America. Vintage Jukebox is an immersive theatrical experience – which starts with a surprise on arrival. I will not spoil the surprise. It is fabulous, fabulous. If you want an upper of a theatrical experience, go and see or should I say, experience Vintage Jukebox. Walk into a smoky foyer – and it feels like an alternative universe- one where you can leave your worries behind- and be wrapped in warmth of good vibes, creativity and fun.
The dance in Vintage Jukebox is exceptional. LAMTA has brought on top choreographers to choreograph each song and each number has been exquisitely rendered. The song list is a treat and includes rousing numbers such as All About That Bass, Fever, I Will Survive and You Don’t Own Me. They are not all of the 1920s period but they capture the spirit of the “roaring twenties” – from many directions- and charge this production with a potent swing of emotions. More on that. Keep reading
Vintage Jukebox is billed as a dance show but there is singing. Glorious vocals by Amy Campbell who is guest vocalist. Campbell teaches at LAMTA. In addition to Campbell, there are vocals by LAMTA students. LAMTA’s Anton Luitingh and Duane Alexander said that they included vocals in order to give time for the performers to change costumes. LAMTA’s previous dance show, framed around the Beatles, included archival documentary footage which provided time for costume changes. It was an inspired choice to include vocals in Vintage Jukebox. Never mind that it provides time for necessary costume changes (stunning costumes, by the way), the vocals heightens the sense, that we are sitting in a hazy speakeasy, gathered rather illicitly in the semi-dark. We have broken through the barrier of prohibitions and laws, designed to regulate our lives and we here we are at the theatre having a wonderful time. This reverberates now in the time of the electricity crisis in South Africa and widespread power outages. Despite all, dance and music transcends circumstance. Resilience and ingenuity uplifts our spirits. This show also pings for me off the ridiculous liquor ban during South Africa’s lockdown. One could get booze in teapots at certain restaurants and ask for Red or White Grapetizer. There were ways of getting around prohibitions.
Again, as with the Beatles show, with Vintage Jukebox, LAMTA has conceptualised its show around a clever conceptual arc. It’s not simply a showcase for the students- to present their artistry, skills, incredible range of dance forms but is very much a theatrical performance. The immersion of the audience in the performance is thrilling. The dancers interact with the audience and at times enter the theatre from the entrance doors. The entire theatre space is used. On stage, a giant metal hoop (I suppose like a stationary circus lyr) frames the pieces beautifully.
Vintage Jukebox is richly nuanced. There is so much in each dance that I want to see the show again and I hope that it returns for anther season. This season is way too short. As with LAMTA’s Beatles dance show, each song/dance scene, conjures up a story and each choreographer has plotted out the dance in sync with the song and lyrics. The numbers range from the celebratory to the poignant. For instance, in Death of Jazz, (Wynton Marsalis, off his album The Majesty of Blues, 1989), choreographed by Michelle Reid, we see a marching band of clown-like figures, mourning the death of jazz. It is a lament to what has been lost but the old makes way for the new. By the way, the LAMTA students made the skullcaps that they wear in this set, in a workshop, as part of their studies.
Death of Jazz brings to mind the era of Vaudeville (mid-1890s until the early 1930s in the USA but birthed in France at the end of the 19th century) and the wonderful variety acts. It is said that the demise of Vaudeville was brought on by Depression in America in the 1930s and radio and TV. The inclusion of Death of Jazz in Vintage Jukebox, again shows the care and thought that is brought to articulating LAMTA dance shows. Put Death of Jazz, against an upbeat number like iconic All About That Bass (the 2014 debut single of Meghan Trainor) choreographed by Duane Alexander and sung by Amy Campbell) and you get an idea of the tremendous emotional range of Vintage Jukebox.
Vintage Jukebox conjures up a profound sense of place, space and zeitgeist. It brings to mind The Cotton Club- the legendary American nightclub in Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s during Prohibition. Back in SA, I am reminded of photos and archival footage from shebeens in the 50s in Sophiatown in Johannesburg. In present day South Africa, people are communing at the theatre, with friends; getting away from the power outages, problems and prohibitions (which loadshedding level are we on anyway?) and soaking up music in a safe space. Vintage Jukebox is not only an exceptionally high energy dance show with outstanding performances but it is also a show with soul and the immersive component – well it all adds up to a must see. Do not heed the cold, rain and power outages, go and see Vintage Jukebox – a seductively immersive jewel box of a show.
|VINTAGE JUKEBOX – dance show presented by LAMTA, Cape Town Performances times: |
Wednesday June 14th 20:00
Thursday June 15th 20:00
Friday June 16th 20:00
Saturday June 17th 16:00 & 20:00
Tuesday June 20th 20:00
Wednesday June 21st 20:00 Thursday June 22nd 20:00 Friday June 23rd 20:00 Saturday June 24th 16:00 & 20:00
✳ Related coverage on TheCapeRobyn: https://thecaperobyn.co.za/preview-lamtas-new-dance-production-vintage-jukebox-celebrates-the-spirit-of-the-roaring-twenties/