Many little girls dream of one day becoming a ballerina. However I don’t think many of their dreams include dancing to the iconic rock and roll music of the one and only Elvis Presley. Well I think they should because what a wonderful combination. Ballet and the music of Elvis Presley, the king of rock and roll. We set out to see the show Private Presley, a salute to the king, not knowing what to expect. Ballet can often turn people away because it is very specific. You either love it or you don’t. Luckily, I do love it. I think it is a very emotional and romantic form of dance and I feel that it portrays story so strongly.
The show travels through the life of Elvis. Through the music and beautiful choreography we see the different stages of his life. Right from the beginning of his career to the end of his marriage to Priscilla. Act one covers favorites such as ‘blue suede shoes’, ‘hound dog’, ‘blue moon’, ‘burning love’ and ‘jail house rock.’ The auidance loved seeing all the flips and tricks that the dancers pulled off. You could see how incredibly strong each and every cast member was. During interval I passed many auidance members and heard them talking about how impressed they were with the routines.
The second act came along and the energy only intensified. I was excited to watch another 19 dances. The second act included popular songs such as ‘can’t help falling in love’ which was absolutely breath taking. One of my favorite routines of the show. ‘Love me tender’, ‘all shook up’, ‘a little less conversation’ and many more. I felt that the second act included more of a story than the first, which I really enjoyed. There were such beautiful moments between Elvis and Priscilla during the second act.
The thing I love most about live theater is that it is live and no two shows are the same but that also means that you can’t just edit out little glitches. The costumes were lovely and everyone looked the part but there were moments where I felt that the costumes didn’t allow for as much movement as needed. However this did not detract from the style and sophistication of the production. The lighting was stunning and added so much to each number. The choreography was brilliant. It really showed off each dancer and their talent. The stage was used very well and the routines were very high energy.
The show makes use of original recordings of Elvis singing his songs as well as news and radio reportings about him and his life. I did miss the drama of a live orchestra but the recordings worked and helped to show off the dancing rather that competing with it. Which is what live music could have done in this context
Now we all know how elegant and strong female ballerinas are. But, I would like to give a special mention to the male part of the cast. I have never seen such strong and powerful dancers. I was in awe of the power that each dancer had. The way that they danced across the stage was nothing less than manly and I caught myself wishing I was the ballerina that was being thrown and caught by the strong male leads. They were really amazing.
All in all I really enjoyed the show and I would definitely recommend it for all ballet lovers and non ballet lovers alike. The energy is so high that you can forget you are watching a ballet and rather feel like you are watching a Elvis Presley concert. I left the theater wanting to put my old ballet shoes on and dancing to the jailhouse rock.
The show runs at the Joburg Theatre till the 25th of October.Visit http://www.joburgtheatre.com for more information and ticket prices.