Street beats

Untapped (Raw Company)

QPAC, Cremorne Theatre

April 19 – 29

Brisbane’s Raw Dance Company roared into QPAC last week with its “Untapped” adrenalin-filled show of family-friendly entertainment from five (male and female) dancers, a beatboxer and a percussionist. Co-choreographed by Jack Chambers (previous winner of Australia’s “So You Think You Can Dance), and the company’s founder Andrew Fee, the show is jammed packed with a variety of novel, charismatic routines. Indeed, from its early numbers, it is clear that this is a show with sass, unafraid of inventiveness; dancers begin a number with staggered stages of mobile phone conversation vocals to create an increasing, impressive rhythm, before they are placed ‘on-hold’ by the band’s jazz into a swinging ‘The Girl from Ipanema’. Before long, however, audience members are transported again as the show whips into a variety of tap numbers and even a flamenco-esque duet, such is its energetic approach and eclectic appeal.

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Dancers Kieran Heilbronn, Brianna Taylor, Martin Kay, Katie Struik and Owain Kennair are all skilled in their craft, (even when dancing in thongs and then later in flippers), delighting younger audience members, in particular, with classic stunts of the splits, handspring and headstand sort. However, it is the music that makes this show most memorable, particularly the genius of beatboxer Genesis Cerezo (“Australia’s Got Talent”). His ability to put multiple sound effects and unique voices in one performance is impressive to audience members of all ages and his ‘I Like to Move It’ medley is a real highlight of vocal acrobatics, as is his provision (from off-stage) some beats to allow drummer Brendan Ramnath to proceed sans drums , which makes for a nice comic moment.

Although it is conceptually lacking and has no narrative thread to join its numbers, “Untapped” is a slick show for adults and children alike. Its inventive routines, comic sensibility, and loud and live music, combine to make for a dynamic and absolutely engaging experience, albeit one that is over far too quickly (with under an hour running time). Apart from what felt like an abbreviated duration (especially after what felt like was going to be an encore), the only real issue is its venue; without tiered seating, the Cremorne Theatre offers compromised sight lines for many audience members in relation to the dancer’s feet, which diminishes full appreciation of its inventive choreography and its high-octane execution. Still, its raw energy and sassy celebration of all things tap, make for an undeniable, instantly-infectious mood.

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