Adelaide Fringe 2019
The dancing DecaVita Sisters accompanied by diva Jenny Minea take you downstairs to 20’s basement dive, where dance and song take you to a world of suggestion and temptation.
How about this then? A jazz and swing show set in a speakeasy bar performed at the Adelaide Fringe by a Scandinavian dance company…
The DecaVita Sisters Charlie and Rebecka are performers, choreographers and instructors of Lindy Hop, Charleston and other vintage swing dances. They are based in Stockholm, Sweden, but teach and perform all over the world. In this piece, ‘The Crystal Club’, they welcome us to a swing dance show within a show, set to a roaring ‘20s theme. At this late night club we meet flapper girls, sleazy stage door Johnnies, blues dancers, high flying Lindy Hoppers and a tipsy tap dancer, all linked by a beguiling songstress, Miss Madeline, performed by Jenny Minea. Songs of loss, love and longing matched by seductive and silky moves, countered by a joyous rendition of ‘I Want to be Evil’ and a sultry burlesque routine.
This company have an established reputation at home for a slick, smart and energetic performance, and give their all in their first Fringe experience. A late night entertainment is announced, and even if the recorded voice-over in heavily accented Scandinavian American was a little distracting, what follows is not. The all female trio flit from presenting as male to female in a beguiling exposition of jazz dance, at times as acrobatic as it is technically skilled.
The ‘Crystal Club’ arrives in Adelaide having been the winner of the weekly Fringe World award in Perth for “Best Dance Show”. New to the Fringe scene they may be, but The DecaVita Sisters tell us that they have worked on six continents in more than 20 countries, won several major competitions and are founders of professional performance troupes in both Sweden and the US. The sisters are known for their creative style and choreographies and work as Lindy Hop instructors world wide. So this experience is married here to a freshness and naivety that is both charming and compelling. It would be hard not to get drawn into an appreciation their energy and commitment to quality and the small audience I was a part of were hugely supportive and appreciative of the DecaVitas intense effort and unique skill.
The highlight for me was the finale as all three performers take the stage one by one as cleaning staff, building a routine which culminates in a celebration of the female, the three ripping off their overalls revealing spangling Wonder Woman outfits and launching into an acrobatic, dizzying routine of swiftly changing dynamics, rhythms and disciplines. What follows is slick, defined and precise but flighty, light and quick, moves and steps that defy gravity and inspire the audience.
The Bakehouse Theatre is perhaps an unusual venue to find such an eclectic piece of dance, but all the more refreshing for that. There is a real sense and smell of a working theatre here, the history of the place seeping through the walls, the love of the dramatic ingrained into the very fabric of the building. As such, the seedy, basement vibe of the speakeasy Crystal Club is not such a leap of the imagination. A thoroughly enjoyable hidden gem of a show that might surprise you at then end of an evening’s programme at the Bakehouse rich in theatrical variation, expertise and excellence.