Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Music, Dancing, and Apparently Some "Spirit"

If you like music and lots of dancing with tons of variety,“Spirit of the Dance”, showing at the Branson Variety Theater in Branson, MO, may be the one for you. But I wouldn't hold your breath...

I went into this show with anticipation of crisp Irish step-dancing, beautiful costumes, and lots of energy. I was highly disappointed. The show began with step-dancing that may or may not have been considered Irish, and within thirty seconds disappointment had set in. There were no taps on the dancers’ shoes, and all the sounds their shoes should have been making were pre-recorded and played over the sound system! Even the singing was canned, although the actors nearly pulled the wool over my eyes a few times with their perfectly executed breathing and lip-syncing. I was excited to see that several different types and styles of dance were included in the show, which was also beneficial for the cast as very few of them looked like actual trained Irish step-dancers. While it is accepted that the more dancers you have the less synchronized the group looks, there were several big mistakes made by a few individuals of the large dance troupe. Don’t get me wrong, these guys were having fun, and it was evident. Wide eyes and big smiles were on everyone’s faces, and the camaraderie between the cast members grouped with their ability to involve the audience made the above mentioned transgressions forgivable. Some of them, at least. I especially enjoyed watching Mark Hobson-Middleton, who, despite his height, is incredibly coordinated and exceptionally versatile. It is obvious most members of the cast enjoy being on stage with him, and his welcoming expressions and ear-to-ear grin make him a pleasure to watch.

The costumes on the ladies were tasteful and elegant, while the striped shirt with glitter outlines that the men wore looked very homemade. The overall set was very basic but effective, but technically this show was beautiful. My compliments to the show’s technical director, Kevin Vandeutekom, for a fantastic use of color, shading, fog, and effects. The lighting set the mood for every song, and really enhanced the overall experience of each set of dances.

Overall this show was a crowd pleaser and is worth seeing – if you are already in Branson and don’t have other plans. My rating – UNLESS YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BETTER TO DO, SKIP THIS SHOW!

The Branson Variety Theater is located at 2701 W. Highway 76 in Branson. Show times vary per season, so check the theatre's website for more details. Tickets are $33 per adult, and child pricing varies by season. You can order tickets by calling 1-888-462-7267, or by visiting their website.

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