10 Great things about 42nd Street (a dancer's perspective)
Back in January, I headed to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane with my friend Becky, to see 42nd Street. Now, Becky and I spend most of our time outside school dancing, and I can truly say that having now seen the show twice, it is definitely a “dancers’ show”! Here are ten great things about 42nd Street, from the point of view of a dancer!
- I see so many shows where the actual tap sounds in tap numbers are pre-recorded and it gets on my nerves so much! In 42nd Street you could really tell that they were using the real tap sounds and it was so refreshing and lovely to see. It just made the show seem more authentic and “real”!
- That first moment when the curtain rises just a little bit and you see all those “dancing feet” behind it is truly magical - partly because you’re excited about the spectacle you’re about to witness, and partly because really, doesn’t every dancer want a pair of yellow tap shoes? (I know I do!) Everything about the costuming in this show was spot on but this has to be my favourite part!
- Talking of costumes, I was amazed at the sheer number of costumes the dancers had - I mean, how on earth did they do those quick changes?! As someone who has done a lot of dance shows, festivals, and so on, it takes a lot to surprise or confuse me, but I was genuinely in disbelief at how quickly some of them changed! Hats off to them!
- As well as an insane amount of costumes per dancer, there were actually an insane amount of dancers too! There is nothing that pleases me more than seeing a massive ensemble all with absolutely immaculate timing, especially in tap dances, and 42nd Street definitely fulfilled this wish!
- I loved the passion that each dancer had - despite being perfectly in time throughout the show. I couldn’t spot a single dancer who had turned robotic - dancing beautifully but with an entirely blank face. I could have picked any dancer on the stage and just watched them because every single performer absolutely shone (quite literally in some dances!).
- Something you don’t see much in shows with lots of dancers is a variety of body types. In my experience of the shows I’ve seen, dancers tend to be slim, tall and long-legged, but in 42nd Street there was a complete range of heights, builds and ethnicities which was so lovely to see - and do you know what? The show was actually all the better for it! You don’t always need identical dancers to make a fantastic performance!
- Leaving the best until last, (I know this is technically point 7 but it has several sub-points!) let’s talk about Randy Skinner’s choreography. Each dance was absolutely mesmerising from beginning to end, and you truly could not take your eyes off the stage.
- The choreography was beautifully original - there was hardly a hint of “there’s a double timestep, there’s a pickup” because it was so fresh and new. Even the use of the staging made it feel exciting and different to anything I’d seen previously or since (like having a huge mirror to show floor work? Genius!).
- Despite having such a refreshingly modern feel to it and being so very original, it was also a great tribute to old-style Broadway and had a really nostalgic feel to it too. How on earth you can be new and refreshing, and old-fashioned and nostalgic in one show, I have no idea, but somehow 42nd Street manages to strike a perfect combination of the two.
- It was simply inspiring. It’s been a couple of months since I last donned my tap shoes but I came out with that child-like feeling of “I want to do what they’re doing!” - and I really, truly hope that my peers and children younger than me will see the show and be inspired to become the next generation of the West End!
42nd Street tickets are available until 1 December 2018.
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