Dance Legends – Grand Theatre 2013

These Dancers ARE the Stars!

If you are sitting at home watching Dancing with the Stars on TV, shame on you! Get off the couch right now, and go to the Grand in London to see Dance Legends. It is so much better!

This is a high energy show, with thrilling choreography, guaranteed to impress you and lift your spirits. The cast of 16 dancers and two singers give it their all, and the results are amazing.

I first saw Dance Legends at Huron Country Playhouse in 2010. Artistic Director Alex Mustakas put together the show which traces choreography through the past 100 years.Dance Legends Grand 13-3

It features tap dance, quick-steps, ballet, modern dance and everything in between. The highlights are many: the evening gets going with a fast moving Nicholas Brothers tap number featuring Joel Taylor and Brett Taylor, and the audience gasps when both young men go straight to the floor in splits.

While Michael Torontow sings House of the Rising Sun, several members of the troupe present a fascinating modern dance. Erica Peck sings Debbie Reynolds style as the dancers take us through a “Singin’ in the Rain” collection.

One of my favourites is the Bob Fosse choreography in a tribute to Chicago with All the Jazz and Razzle Dazzle. The entire company spreads waves across the stage in the salute to Fosse. There is an impressive Fred Astaire collection to wrap up Act I.

Act II opens with a beautiful ballet with Brett Taylor and Lisa Jantzie. Erica Peck’s voice is outstanding in “You Don’t Have to Say you Love Me”, to which Andrew Kyrzyk dances the Twyla Tharp poignant choreography. Also in the passionate Tharp style, Jacques Monfiston and Kimberly O’Neill dance to Michael Torontow’s moving rendition of “That’s Life”. Then we move on to West Side Story, Jerome Robbins style.


In a salute to modern dance movies, we travel to scenes from Flashdance, Footloose, Dirty Dancing and Saturday Night Fever. Jessica Keeling is excellent skipping through the iconic Flashdance scene and entire company brings together the joy and energy of Footloose. Joel Taylor has the Patrick Swayze moves in Dirty Dancing as he lifts Christine Watson high in the air.

The real audience favourite is the Michael Jackson section, with the dancers all sporting one sequinned glove, and again demonstrate their endless energy.

Jacques Monfistin takes on singers Erica and Michael in a challenge of duelling voices and feet. I’m not sure the naked eye can actually see Jacques’ feet move, but I think Erica scatted her way to victory.

Costumes are amazing throughout the show, with frequent changes. The dynamic seven-piece band sits at centre stage between and under two stairways, which are used throughout by the dancers. Credit goes to lead choreographer Gino Berti for making full use of the stage and bringing out the best in these dancers.

While this production compares favourably to the show’s debut at Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend three years ago, it was lacking in one area. I was very impressed with the education that the Grand Bend production offered: information about each original choreographer was posted on the big screen and even the program offered background information.

I can’t stress enough the great energy this dance troupe puts into this show. If just a tiny bit of it rubs off, you will be lighter on your feet when walking to the parking lot at the end of the performance.

Dance Legends continues at the Grand Theatre, London until May 18. Tickets are available at the Grand box office at 672-8800 or 1-800-265-1593 or visit .

Dance Legends – Grand Theatre 2013
Conceived by Alex Mustakas
Orchestrations and vocal arrangements by Robert Foster
Lead choreography by Gino Berti
Additional orchestrations by Michael McClennan
Directed by Susan Ferley
Performed by Dancers: Alex Black, Marc Cardarelli, Lisa Jantzie, Jessica Keeling, Shelley Kenney, Bethany Kovarik, Sasha Kozak, Andrew Kyrzyk, Jacques Monfiston, Natalie Moore, Kimberly O’Neill, Joel Taylor, Brett Taylor, Kyle Toy, Courtney VanWirdum, Christine Watson, and Singers Erica Peck and Michael Torontow.
Grand Theatre, London
April 16 to May 18, 2013
Reviewed by Mary Alderson


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