Cork-born dance star Alan Kenefick promised something very different with Prodijig: The Revolution and that was most definitely what we got at its premiere in Cork Opera House on Saturday night. Streetwise, fast-moving, clever, there wasn’t a hint of pretty frocks or lookalike lines of straight-armed dancers.
Instead you got happy kids in hoodies and skinny jeans, constantly-moving scaffold sets, distinctly different music. As you’d expect from a choreographer who won Sky TV’s Gotta Dance with his original Prodijig team, it brought lively, exciting dancing that showcased principally the aggressive energy of youth but also gentleness and young love, as well as despair.
It’s full of superb moments but among these, Trash Talk stands out as an exceptionally clever blending of 1920s jazz style with Irish dance. This one above all demonstrates Kenefick’s genius for choreography right across the dance genres. Sinnerman was a spectacular duet (duel?) between Kenefick’s beating feet and Karen Underwood’s vibrant soul singing, while Planted gave us a witty interpretation of teenage drinking sessions.
Rebel, Rebel showed three identically-dressed young men, blindfolded and bound, looking ready for the firing squad; instead they executed the traditional Irish step dance routines like automatons, finally to be led away by pitying teenage girls in jeans and jackets. A witty reminder by Kenefick of just what his revolution is escaping.
The skilful mix brought involuntary plaudits from the delighted audience throughout, and the explosive drumming beat of the finale had the entire house on its feet.
Prodijig, with its driving energy, taps into our essential atavistic nature, as would a savage ceremonial drum. Kenefick promised us a revolution and that is what he has delivered.
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