Dancers of Blaze, a full-length street dance performance from Europe, are coming to Taipei for the first time to present what they call a “street dance sensation.”
Blaze combines a great variety of dance styles with nightclub vibes and high-end theatrical elements, bringing the dance genre from the street into the theater.
The show features a strong production team, including director Anthony Van Laast, known for West End productions such as Mamma Mia!, and Es Devlin, set designer for the concerts of Kanye West and Lady Gaga, whose music forms a part of Blaze’s 90 minute mix tape, along with the hits of Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake and Rihanna.
The show has been on an international tour since its 2010 premiere in the UK. Lucinda Wessels, a dancer from the Netherlands, came to Taiwan last month to train two Taiwanese dancers, Win Chou (周允斌) and Chin Yang (金陽), who will participate in the show next week at the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
Wessels, who has been touring with the show for the past two years, says training Chou and Yang enabled her to see Blaze in a different light.
“I feel a whole new energy and appreciation for the show … Watching their moves showed me another way to perform it,” Wessels told the Taipei Times.
Chou, a seasoned dancer and instructor who runs a dance center, sees Blaze as an opportunity to reach a wider audience that isn’t necessarily familiar with street dance.
“Street dance will be more accessible to the general public if we can produce a show like Blaze,” Chou said.
Chin calls training with Wessels a “learning experience.” Performing in a show is different than competing in a dance contest because every move needs to be in sync with the show’s context and live ambience.
“When I practice on my own, I imagine as if I were onstage, making eye contact with the audience,” Chin said.
In addition to interpret their roles in Blaze, Chou and Chin will have a moment to throw down their best moves after the show ends, when each dancer gives a freestyle solo — what Wessels calls the heart of hip hop culture.
“You can do whatever you want and whatever you like,” she said.