Billy Elliot

Billy ElliotAleister and I went to see Billy Elliot at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco yesterday. If you’ve ever seen a Saturday matinee at the Orpheum you’ll know that the crowd is comprised of mostly the very old and the very young.  Although this can make for a frustratingly slow moving crowd, it also makes for a very appreciative and fun audience.

I had never seen a show at the Orpheum until Billy Elliotso I was pleased to find that my expectations of a high caliber show were aptly satisfied.  The production of the show was stunning, with excellent use of moving sets, lighting, and sound.  I didn’t think the duet between Billy and his friend Michael, “Expressing Yourself” could possibly get much better until a cast of oversized dresses on hangers came trooping onto the stage and carnival lighting burst to life surrounding it all in a glowing frame.  The choreography (by Kurt Froman and Mary Giattino) was interesting and served the storyline exceptionally well.  Ethan Fuller as Billy Elliot was an incredibly energetic and clean dancer, but I have to admit my favorites were the “Ballet Girls,” the cast of oddball dancers who played Billy Elliot’s classmates in his hometown ballet school. Bursting with energy and humor I was impressed with the uniqueness of each girls’ character and also how it all managed to come together in a well executed whole.

If you’ve ever seen Billy Elliot you’ll probably point out the curtain call.  Dance through your bows? What a concept?! Rescuing the audience from the usual palm-reddening mandatory clapping session of most curtain calls, the cast of Billy Elliot gave us a musical number with short bits for each cast member within it.  The audience, on their feet (or poised upright in their walkers) at this point, were clapping along with energy and the feeling of the bow was more like a communal dance-along.  Fantastic way to end a show which I plan on using at some point in the future;)

As the tickets cost me about what I budget for groceries every month, I can’t say I’ll be returning to the Orpheum anytime soon, but it was well worth it as a special event. Aleister was certainly excited.  About fifteen minutes in, he turns to me from the edge of his seat and says in stage whisper, “I should be in this! How much does it cost?” Oh son, if only it were that simple.

To see pictures of us at the show with very gracious cast members, follow this link below:


About Holly Shaw

Holly Shaw is a San Francisco Bay Area dancer and choreographer who has performed as a soloist with Yaelisa and Caminos Flamencos off and on for several years. Shaw is the creator of the Eve’s Elixir project, a platform for artists of contemporary world dance wanting to bring new ideas to traditional dance forms, and has produced several shows in San Francisco. Her flow between contemporary modern dance, flamenco and Middle-eastern styles makes her a unique choreographer. Shaw has spent years training Bay Area dancers in technique and improvisation, challenging them to dance from a deeper level and uncover their unique style.

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