’A Lyrical Dance Concert’, starring Gillie Kleiman and Eleanor Sikorski, is on at the Maltings in Berwick on February 28. This is Gillie Kleiman’s story in her own words...
Sara Lindstrom and I met in 2010 in a big house in northeast France. After hanging out a bit, we realised we laughed at a lot of the same pretty stupid things – and, most importantly, we laughed at one another.
During a chat about more or less nothing, we got to joking about what a lyrical dance is – not a dance lyrical in quality, but a dance of lyrics. We found this very amusing, and set about making a list of songs we could do this with. Sitting side-by-side with my laptop and Spotify in front of us, we conceived the show.
Fast forward, and after months of work (and laughs) (and cries), we ended up with a show we’re proud of. It’s a cabaret of sorts – we do a series of numbers, each a combination of movement, song, speech, jokes, fantastical costume changes and a ton of lamé.
The numbers are driven by pop hits we know and (mainly) love, which we interpret as literally as possible, responding to lyrics as directions. When Mariah says Touch My Body, that’s what we do. Only You, Bobby Vinton’s 1950s hit, is only for you.
There’s a great selection of songs in the show – fewer numbers by Tina Turner than I would have liked, but Sara had to draw the line somewhere. To avoid giving the game away, I thought I’d introduce you to some of the happy failures, the songs that we worked on but that didn’t quite make the cut.
Slipknot – Wait and Bleed
The lyrics are almost incomprehensible without seeing them written down.
They’re also dramatic and in some ways romantic, in a rather old-fashioned way, and there’s a great contrast between that romance and the shouted, thrasping voice. We tried to do a lyrical dance good and proper, turning the words into gestures, turns, rolls imbued with a lyrical, emotional quality. It was good fun, but never quite came off.
No Doubt – Don’t Speak
Sara and I loved this song from our teens, and the lyrics are pretty inviting and memorable.
We tried lots of things with this, including gagging each other or finding different ways to stop each other talking. At one point I was singing the track and Sara was behind me, causing a vibrato in my voice by manually jiggling my belly!
Etta James – At Last
The diva is a kind of figure in the show, a thread that isn’t there but slips around in different ways. We love this song, and I so wanted to sing it, but it didn’t have the tension we needed to make something of it. I loved it too much! We did find a way to have me belt my heart out, but that you’ll have to see yourself.
Dire Straits – Money For Nothing
My parents tell me this was my favourite song when I was a child! We tried to do something pointless, like move set around, and reward ourselves – we wanted to make ourselves get money for nothing! It was boring, though. We wouldn’t do that to you!
Those were the losers – so imagine how great the winners are! We look forward to seeing you, and to introducing you to our versions of classic pop by Whitney Houston, Gloria Gaynor and Simon and Garfunkel. Come have a sing-a-long with us!