Tuesday 11 August 2009

Never Judge Dancers by Their Dance Wear

It seems that barely a day goes by without a new club, bar or
restaurant opening in central London. A friend of mine who gets
invited to lots of these events because of his job as a reviewer
told me that he could easily attend up to 10 events a night if
he wanted to, such is the deluge of invites and press releases
that arrive on his desk on a daily basis. The fierce competition
for valuable press coverage and publicity means that the people
who organize these events have to constantly come up with new
and innovative ways to make their venue stand out from the
crowd. Often this equates to ever more lavish supplies of free
food and drink, but my friend reckons that the thing that
critics such as him always remember is good entertainment. In
fact, he attended an event recently where the quality of the
entrees paled into insignificance next to the impression caused
by the dancers and their dance wear.

The event in question took place at a new bar in the Covent
Garden area of England's capital city. Having received the usual
invites, he nearly went to another opening around the corner
before deciding he would rather go to a bar than a restaurant
that evening. When he first arrived at the venue it seemed like
there would be little to distinguish it from any other bar in
the city. There was the usual free food and drink, as well as
the inevitable – and somewhat tiresome – sprinkling of minor
celebrities (who add nothing to these events, according to my
friend): certainly nothing out of the ordinary, anyway. Until
the dancers took to the stage in their amazing dance wear, that

Indeed, until this point in proceedings my friend was skeptical
that this bar would even make it until Christmas. In the
previous 12 months he had been to five launch events on this
same street and only one of those places was still up and
running. In fact, the building that played home to this new bar
had also played host to at least three different restaurants and
bars in the last five years. Just as my friend was about to
write it off as another soulless, generic bar, the dancers took
to the stage and changed everything. What immediately grabbed my
friend's attention was their dance wear.

Being something of a traditionalist, my friend was more used to
seeing dancers in ballet shoes and tutus. This was his first
experience of urban dance and, in-keeping with the rest of the
evening's events, he was immediately skeptical when the saw the
12-strong dance troupe take to the stage in their dance wear: an
array of baggy trousers, hooded tops and baseball caps, all
outrageously decorated with vibrant colours and graffiti logos.
His first thought was that in desperation, the event organizers
must have gone out onto the street and found a bunch of kids to
come in and liven up proceedings. But his prejudices were about
to be completely turned on their head.

What he saw on that stage was one of the most entertaining
performances he had ever seen. It was lively, engaging,
innovative and, most importantly, brilliantly choreographed. It
just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its
cover or, in this case, never judge a group of dancers by their
dance wear.

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