Crows Feet Dance Collective
Sunday, December 5
Reviewed by Judith Lacy
If you could take just one person with you to a desert island and it couldn't be whānau or a friend, who would you choose?
I'd go for Palmy's own Tania Kopytko. The indefatigable dance teacher and creative would keep me entertained for days, could repair my clothes as they got tatty, and if the ship didn't see our SOS the first time she would encourage me to try, try again.
Thumbing her nose (or should that be moustache) at the disruption Covid-19 has caused to the performing arts, Kopytko made sure Crows Feet Dance Collective brought their touring interpretation of Carl Orff's cantata for orchestra and chorus to the Globe.
Usually when I review a show I've already written a preview about it or at least processed a media release. Before Carmina Burana, I hadn't even read the programme and it was pleasurable having no idea what was going to happen next.
Crows from Wellington, Kāpiti Coast and Palmy danced to the Latin words and musicianship of the Vienna Philharmonic.
Dance is that wonderful art form where it doesn't matter if you can't understand the words, or don't know the story - you can just relax and watch.
Crows Feet is a community dance company for mature women founded in 1999 by Jan Bolwell. She was twice diagnosed with breast cancer and as part of her recovery started dancing again. After women saw her dance Off My Chest in Dame Gaylene Preston's film Titless Wonders, Bolwell was approached by women who wanted to dance like that.
Among the Wellington Crows was poet Rachel McAlpine, who being born in 1940 was the oldest dancer.
Crows Feet Palmerston North began in 2017 when Kopytko returned to Palmerston North to live.
The Palmy Crows - Louise Bowe, Jean Hera, Maryanne Mechen, Maria Merrick and Tania Kopytko as tutor, choreographer and dancer - had the speaking and humorous roles, bringing a modern C-word twist to the Black Plague and did the city proud.
Those who have been in a play more than my once tell me it is hard to act drunk so goblets up to Bolwell as the imbibing abbot. I loved every minute of her time on stage.
The Crows' costumes, the crispness of movement, and facial expressions were magnificus. It is impressive how the dancers remembered all their moves and didn't bump into each other.
The images on the back wall helped tell the story of a view of medieval life, including religious verses, social satires and bawdy drinking songs, but weren't overdone.
The Palmy Crows were also part of the Globe exclusive opening act along with DanceXercise. What The World Needs Now Is Love was like a shoulder massage, relieving any tension you'd brought to the theatre, plus there was audience participation where you didn't have to get out of your seat.
Much is made of the Regent on Broadway with its grandness and ability to attract international acts. The Globe is the little sister that could and does. Make it a New Year's Resolution to check out some events at the Globe that are out of your comfort zone.
The final word goes to Bolwell who said the Covid year was finishing on a high. "I can't believe we have actually done it."