In recent years the popularity of street dance has exploded. Much of this can be attributed to its proliferation in popular music videos and films such as the Step Up trilogy and You Got Served. As a result, studios around the country are now packed with people keen to learn street, hip hop and break dance. This renewed passion for the art form is fantastic. However, by attempting to capitalize on public enthusiasm for this particular style Lite Fantastic’s Prodigious sells its talented dancers short.
Prodigious tells the story of a teenage boy’s experience of the 90’s rave scene, exploring themes including peer pressure, drugs, overdoses and relationships through a combination of street and contemporary styles to a soundtrack of, as the show title suggests, ‘The Prodigy’ songs.
The majority of the story is told through choreography influenced by street style, which usually includes an air of arrogance, conviction, and impeccable levels of cohesion and uniformity in group sections to be truly effective. Sadly many performers seemed to lack confidence and group sections were often slightly out of synch; as a result much of their potential impact was lost. Notable exceptions were Tom Saggs and Nicholas Hewlett who were clearly more comfortable with street styles and performed well in these scenes – regrettably only highlighting the others’ apparent discomfort.
Thankfully the show took a turn for the better when it moved into sections of contemporary dance containing some quite beautiful moments. Special mention must be given to Robyn Richford who gave a wonderfully fluid, elegant and emotive performance. At just 19 years old she surely has a bright future ahead of her. In these scenes many of the dancers became visibly more comfortable as they committed to the choreography and enjoyed themselves. The results were delightful; which begs the question why didn’t the production focus on using more Contemporary movement?Lite Fantastic is a new dance group filled with young talent who display good potential and genuine enthusiasm for their art, and will undoubtedly improve greatly with increased experience and improved group cohesion. Unfortunately, despite having some remarkable individuals and charming contemporary sections, this production lacks a ‘finished’ quality and focuses too much on a style of dance that many of the performers are clearly not comfortable with.