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Review: ISH & NBA perform “Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by Stefani

By Stefani– With five sold out performances the National Ballet Academy and ISH company had a very succesful premiere week at the National Ballet & Opera house of Amsterdam. This is not suprising if you understand the level that was shown in the Theater.

On a nice Spring day the lobby of the building is crowded with people waiting in line anxiously for their tickets. The opening has me on the edge of my seat. Mrs. MacReady was ready alright. Ready to kill the stage as we like to put it. She embodies the role completely and has a facial expression to match it. Sarada Sarita Keilman introduces people to vogue and whacking in a very theatrical way that reminds  a lot of the unpleasant yet fierce side of Emma Thompson in Nanny McPhee.

In the first few minutes Riho Sakamoto steals your heart away. This sixteen year old Japanese ballet dancer is not only a dreamy, endearing character she was also acting out the role of Lucy as if she walked straight off of Broadway just two minutes before walking on this one.

When Thomas Krikken starts doing his sets something breaks figuratively speaking.  When you spend your days learning about Hip Hop and trying to understand it’s essence, it is always moving to see break appreciated in a setting it wasn’t born out of.

The piece is clearly influenced by the dancer’s own improvisation and style. Something that is mentioned in the trailer and that is a blessing to see because it brings out the personality so much more and that in turn betters the collective. Just one glimpse of Gil the Grid has people voice their enthusiasm because they know they’re in for a treat like only he can give.

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Photo: Michel Schnater | Dancers: Gil Gomes Leal & ensemble

As far as the storyline, it’s clear. Everyone knows the tale of C.S. Lewis so it’s impossible to not comprehend what is happening on stage at any given point. Which makes enjoying the dancer’s talent even more pleasant.

Although Aitor Biedma did a fantastic job on the visuals it’s always a challenge to create something abstract when the Disney movie of Narnia is so organic and filled with all the glory of the natural world. The uneven staging does blend perfectly into it and makes the piece look more dynamic and alive.

After a short period it becomes clear how well the music blends itself. It seems to adapt so subtly and lightly either to classical or urban which means music producer Scanner proves once again he knows what he’s doing.

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Photo: Michel Schnater | Dancers: Arnold Put & Raquel Tijsterman

The audience is quite moved by the surprising solo of Marnix Lenselink. They decide to cheer for him even during the show and rightfully so. I’m not sure what was funkier: Mr. and Mrs. Beaver‘s moves or their outfits. The whole entire cast is covered in beautiful costumes. Jadis, the White Witch looks like an ice cold high fashion runway model and while the simplicity of Lucy’s dress does the complete opposite, they both effectively emphasize the characters.

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Photo: Michel Schnater | Dancers: Dietrich Pott & Yuanyuan Zhang

It was heartwarming to see so many styles together performing in harmony while the trained eye can still very much distinguish them. You don’t lose interest for a second; afraid you will miss a move, an expression or freeze. The blending of styles is almost flawless and very complimentary to each other.  This show is highly sutable for children of all ages and adults that can appreciate magic.

The program is really much more than a guide. It was beautifully designed and respectfully mentions all creative minds behind this collaboration. Marco Gerris and Ernst Meisner said the piece is a success when you just see one show and can no longer tell who is an ISH dancer and who represent the Junior Company. They’ve succeeded. They have created a cohesive and modern retelling of the original classic story.

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Photo: Michel Schnater | Dancers: Carl Refos & Yuanyuan Zhang

Not being able to highlight all of the cast I urge you to support this show when it comes to a city near you to see for yourself. It will be worth your while. Narnia will tour the Netherlands from September 11th through 30th of October 2015.  Step x Step Dance would like to thank the National Opera Ballet and Infinity PR. Thank you to all the dancers. Your hard work was visible.

Click here for tickets and data

NBA Junior Company:
Lisanne Kottenhagen
Nancy Burer
Veronika Verterich
Daniel Cooke
Martin ten Kortenaar
Emilie G. Tassinari
Yuanyuan Zhang
Thomas van Damme
Bart Engelen
Antionia Martinez
Ryosuke Morimoto
Christiano Principato
ISH:
Arnold Put
Carl Refos
Lars de Vos
Tyrone Menig
Dietrich Pott