‘The show doesn’t follow a narrative, it’s more a concept of style and music,’ says Blaze The Show choreographer, Chris Baldock. Mixing nightclub vibes with West End production values, Blaze is an interactive dance extravaganza that will see a cast of 12 dancers specialising in break, tap, popping and locking and hip-hop perform to popular tracks by music heavyweights from David Guetta to Kanye West and Jay Z.
Directed by Anthony van Laast (Mamma Mia! and Sister Act), Blaze comprises a team of internationally renowned choreographers and dancers, and cast members have performed with artists including Michael Jackson, Madonna, Rihanna and Sean Paul. ‘I think this show is something most people will have never seen before. It starts out quite abstract and people will probably wonder and think “what’s going on?” because it’s just so different,’ says Baldock.
The high-energy street and breakdance spectacular rolls into Ductac’s Centrepoint Theatre on Thursday August 20, finishing on Saturday August 22, and promises to entertain audiences with more than 80 minutes of street dance styles. ‘It’s about coming to the theatre and having a party,’ Baldock explains. ‘It’s about music and fashion and different genres of hip-hop. When we developed the show, each of our cast members had a different style of clothing and hair, so we wanted to create something that the audience could relate to as opposed to having a narrative story.’
In addition to Baldock, the show also counts actor and dancer Kenny Wormald as a choreographer. The American star is known for his role in the 2011 remake of the popular dance flick Footloose, in which he played the part of Ren MacCormack, the character Kevin Bacon made famous in the 1984 original. Other choreographers include some of the biggest names in street dance, including Mike Song, Kenny Lyle Beniga, Ryan Chappell and Kendra Horsburgh. Choreographing a show like Blaze is intense, with dancers training up to six hours or more, daily. ‘We start with a warm-up of about 45 minutes then do a recap of what we learned the previous day. Then we break for lunch and practise all the numbers,’ says Baldock.
Aside from world-class dance talent, the show also boasts impressive set designs by Es Devlin, who has designed sets for Kanye West, Mika, Take That and Pet Shop Boys. He also designed the set for Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball tour. ‘The set is built on household goods and is very domestic,’ says Baldock. ‘It’s the opposite of what people think hip-hop is – graffitied walls and basketball courts. It looks like a rubbish tip really, with old fridges, TVs and beds. It’s an abstract set and a great visual for audiences.’
As part of Blaze The Show, a special masterclass for aspiring dancers in the UAE will be held. Taking place at Ductac on Monday August 17, ten participants will get the chance to learn from the professionals. ‘Sometimes when you put on a show, you might only get two weeks’ notice with a brand-new cast. So the dancers are under a lot of pressure. That’s why it’s so important for them to be quick at learning routines. There’s so many styles – popping, locking, B-boying, nu skool…,’ says Baldock. ‘You need to have them all under your belt to audition and to get the job…’
Dhs125-300. August 20-22, 2.30pm, 7.30pm. Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 341 4777).
Where to take a class
Take the Breakdance class to learn the art of this discipline.
Silverene Tower, Dubai Marina, capella-club.com (04 452 6000).
James and Alex Dance Studio
Novices can get to grips with street dance in the Beginners’ Hip-Hop class.
Concord Tower, Dubai Media City, www.jamesandalex.com (04 4470 773).
Step N Groove Dance Studio
Perfect your technique with a hip-hop session.
202 Al Riffa Plaza, Bur Dubai www.stepngroovedance.com (04 355 7433).