In honour of their tenth anniversary, the Blue Angels Dance Team performed “A Decade of Dance” in the Byre theatre this past Tuesday. The three teams within Blue Angels, alongside team alumni, showcased a variety of styles including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop, all with amazing skill.
The show opened with a slideshow of pictures of the Blue Angels at competitions and in practices over the past decade. Following that, the first dance of the gala was a boisterous tap number performed by the advanced tap team. Many of the dances were opened with interviews with the choreographers and sometimes a series of clips of the teams preparing for and rehearsing the dances. While a great concept, the interviews were marred by obvious editing and background noise that overshadowed the choreographer’s speaking. The interviews seemed to be conducted in a Q&A format, when it could have been preferable for the choreographer to prepare a monologue discussing her dance and for that to be filmed in a single shot.
“Raining,” the advanced team’s improvisation piece, was the most beautiful and striking performance of the night. During the ensuing interval, the Blue Angels held a raffle where attendees could win a variety of prizes donated by various local businesses. The show continued with a combination of dances in the second act, and finished with the graduating Angels performing solo routines.
While this show was definitely entertaining, the mastery expected from dance teams that have won various awards in major competitions seemed lacking. Some of the dances were unclean – rather, the dancers were out of sync, lines were not straight, dancers would move out of the stage lights and stay in shadows unintentionally, and some dancers appeared to have little confidence and less energy as they moved. While this was not prevalent to every dancer or every dance, it was frustratingly noticeable in others. As someone who has spent many years competing in dance and now works as a dance teacher during the summer, maybe I am more observant of these subtleties; but if these issues were rectified, then the show would have been astoundingly better.
Overall, the audience loved the show and I look forward to seeing how the Blue Angels improve and expand over the next ten years.