Last weekend I went down to the town hall to watch the Khamzin tribe dancing for International Dance Day. They were on after three. The event started at one. I arrived about twenty minutes after one. I thought I would enjoy watching an afternoon of dance, even though it was one of the last fine weekends before the cold of the year sets in after solstice.

Here’s some thoughts:

First up when I arrived was Hips Infinity. They did two pieces: Ice Queen was a set piece, Deja Vu a new piece.

Next item of mention was the line dancers. I think line dancing is stepping into the position that marching girls occupied in local culture in the twentieth century. It’s a sort of a low impact exercise for older cowgirls.

The primary school kids in penguin suits were so cute. They didn’t choose to do Jive Talking sadly.

The old people’s folk dancing group is called Folk Dancing for Fun. What are the alternatives? I’m quite comfortable with the concept of folk dancing as a form of hand-to-hand combat. The idea that there might possibly be a ‘Folk Dancing for Cruelty’ group out there disturbs me a little.

I don’t think that anyone has told the Rasa Dance Company that they should pace their pieces better. They do quick sudden moves. It would be more exciting if they started slow and then built up the momentum. Both their pieces started fast and didn’t slow down.

The Irish dancers proved that they could dance to any music they were given. What they haven’t proved to me is whether they can innovate and renew their dance form. It feels like they are repeating themselves.

In contrast ballet is diversifying creating a modern form and still maintaining its classical traditions and roots. Maybe that’s because I’m comfortable with watching ballet performances.

Then the Khamzin tribe came on. I have a friend among their members and have been to several of their performances. Their introduction was confused and diffident and I think people were surprised by their dance, costume and poise. I enjoyed watching them again.

I sat up and watched the performance dancers and the rock’n’roll people. They have amazing footwork. The rock’n’roll people are managing to keep themselves young.

Notable omission: no kapa haka.

A great afternoon out for five shillings.

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