Last night we made what has become an annual trip to see the Basingstoke Tappers & Jazz Dance Company annual show at The Anvil in Basingstoke. The fact that I would willingly attend a dance show is probably a surprise to some people, probably due to the many years when I was in drama classes when I was a child, and we shared our annual show with the local dance school – but thats another story!
Anyway, we do have a lot of fun going along to see the Tappers show every year, and this year was no exception. Our link with the dance company is via Catherine and Phil. Catherine has danced in the shows for many years, and Phil has stage managed the shows for the past couple of years, having married into it when he and Catherine tied the knot a couple of years ago. What keeps us going back though is that despite it being a showcase for an amateur dance company, complete with the really young beginners who only know a couple of steps, the production values are second to none.
The music has always been good, thanks to various contacts in the industry they get a selection of experienced professional musicians who give up their time for the show, however over the past few years the staging and scenery has been amazing. For example a couple of years ago they performed numbers from the Lion King musical, complete with home built versions of some of the animal costumes. This year they recreated Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on the stage, We Will Rock You with explosions on stage, and finished with Mary Poppins, complete with a flying Mary Poppins.
The music this year was again boosted by the presence of the Chosen Few Jazz Orchestra, who first appeared in the show last year when they provided the big band backing for some Las Vegas style numbers. However this year they were present on stage through the whole of the show, allowing the dancers to dance to a real band rather than CD’s for a lot of the show. Whilst many of the numbers would be a bit of a disappointment to fans of the orchestra, as most numbers in the musicals aren’t written for 13 piece brass sections, there were three points in the show where we got a sample of their big band sound. Also as before they played on after the stage had cleared despite the usual mass exodus by most of the audience to the car park, bar or whatever (which this year started before the dancers had even cleared the stage, to the point that the circle was almost empty when the last dancers had left), although we stayed to the end to give them a cheer when they had finished – not often you get to a twenty piece band live!
Anyway, if you want to support a local dance school, whilst at the same time hearing some west end quality music, without paying west end prices, put the last weekend in July 2006 in your diaries!