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Friday, June 8, 2012

Battle of the Dance

Thanks to our subscription to Fill-A-Seat, we were able to get tickets to Battle of the Dance, a dinner show in Anaheim. There is apparently a story: a Spanish armada crashes on the shores of Ireland and their cultures and dances clash, but eventually they all get along peachy keen, creating a new style of dance.

We opted for dinner beforehand, since our experience at Medieval Times taught us that the food is rarely worth the money. The prices are way out of our normal price range, which is why I'm doubly grateful to Fill A Seat, which offered us tickets to the show without dinner. Normally, this is $45/person, but if you want dinner too, tickets can run anywhere from $60-$90/person.

Upon arriving, we were allowed into a lounge, where someone was walking around with appetizers and a bar was available. $7.50 for a margarita isn't too bad, and James said he definitely got his money's worth in the alcohol content, though that didn't make it a good drink. Honestly, I think he just got one to drink for me since I've been craving margaritas. When we were allowed into the theatre, I was surprised at how enormous it was. Apparently it seats around 900 people, though I'd guess there were no more than 200 there last night (maybe because it was a Thursday). Servers were coming around to take orders, etc and we opted to get the appetizer plate. I am always hungry nowadays and $8 for a plate of appetizers that sounds way tastier than the actual dinner isn't a bad deal. Then an emcee comes onto stage, though apparently he is also a singer and sings us a few songs while we wait for the show to start. It was all jazz, not exactly my cup of tea, but he had a smooth voice. The volume was way too loud for the space, and didn't get any better once the dancing started.

The dancing. Well. I can't comment on the flamenco, since I know nothing about that style of dance. It was beautiful and fascinating, but for a show whose plot is based on the Spanish landing in Ireland, it was pretty Spanish-centric. I was a little disappointed by how little Irish dance featured in the show. The Indian/Bollywood interlude lasted longer than the Irish parts. And the Irish parts just seemed like a knockoff of Riverdance. The soloists were very good, but the male dancer's arm movements were comically Michael Flatley. And really, all he did was trebles. Impressively fast trebles, but nothing more technically challenging. As for the ensemble Irish dancers, it looked like they took ballet dancers and gave them a crash course of a few months in Irish. They were mediocre; nothing spectacular and their crossing, especially during turns was painful to watch. Lifting in the back went out the window with hardshoe or when the softshoe dances sped up and sometimes I wanted to grab their feet and make them point better. Maybe I'm being harsh; they were good dancers, they just didn't look like Irish dancers. In addition, when they kicked up, there was this pause before, which an Irish dancer doesn't have--like the gymnastics "dance" section that doesn't really look like dance. Either way, the dancing was fun to watch and the flamenco dancers did seem pretty good. And again, the soloists were real Irish dancers that did very well, even if the steps they did were not technically challenging (that tends to happen in shows since most audiences are laypeople that respond to flash, not technique).

Our appetizers came out after everyone else was finished with dinner, and none of the food our waitress told us about was on the plate. It was still ok. The taquitos were horrible, as were the weird little sandwiches (I think they were supposed to be pulled pork, but yuck). However, the fried zucchini with the sauce was delicious and there was this meat wrapped in a puff pastry that was really good. There was one vegetarian wrap--just a little slice with nasty smelling veggies in it, and some sort of chicken empanada with a sweet, sweet sauce. I still ate almost everything (except the veggie wrap--it smelled horrible) because I'm always hungry now. I probably would have skipped it if I had known what actually came on the plate though. The time difference also kinda ticked me off since we were eating after everyone else had already had salad/soup and their entree. But again, I was too hungry to send it back on principle.

Over all, it was a good show, and I enjoyed seeing it, but I would not have been happy if I had paid $45 for the tickets--it just wasn't that good. And even Medieval Times includes dinner at $50 (apparently it's now $58, but it was $50 when we went). So, if you have a Fill A Seat subscription or if you have some extra cash you're looking for a way to spend, go for it! It was pretty fun to see, but if you're interested mostly in the Irish dance, I would recommend spending some time watching the champion dancers at the Irish Fair coming up June 16-17 (shameless plug for Aniar's feis!) 

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