Elysium put on a display of great devotion to a very important holiday, Veterans Day, November 11 2016 in The Empire Room. The routines were respectful remembrances and sentimental dedications to those who’ve served and to lost friends alike. DJ Gunner von Phoenix, a brother in arms and staunch advocate of veterans, went above and beyond in his duties by calling for a daily thanks to be rendered to any veterans the audience may encounter. This moving missive to the crowd was well received, just as the crowd were themselves. Our hostess, Jilley, made it a point to warmly welcome all who entered with aplomb and kindness, and Paul Woodrunner served up some drinks and chit chat as the show went on. The spirits of the audience were surely moved by the dances they beheld – many of which were deeply personal and divinely orchestrated.
Act One: Corri with FT – Holding Out For A Hero – Bonnie Tyler
Our celebration of heroes began with an epic routine by Corri, set in a burning urban landscape. As a lone dancer danced passionately to the rock opera of Jim Steinman’s Bonnie Tyler hit, Holding Out for a Hero, drama was on display.
Act Two: Ally Romani – Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
Amid desolation and destruction that was reminiscent of the 9-11 Ground Zero wreckage, Ally Romani‘s romantic piece hallowed a personal hero in her life – her father. The choreographer danced in center stage, wearing combat togs with blades drawn. Lit by red, white and blue, this glorious scene mixed romance and patriotism into a routine both dignified and sensual.
Act Three: Jilley with Paul, Wiz, Ray, Zach, Michael, Rory, FT and Taylor – Men in Black – Will Smith
Heroes that save us from aliens was Jilley‘s subject – the Men in Black from the classic comedy-action franchise danced in a synchronized fashion in their hyper-technological headquarters. These suited gents have never looked swankier!
Act Four: Sebastain Bourne with Jo, Ayita, Lily and Nadi – I’m Your Boogie Man – KC and the Sunshine Band
The dance card turned from heroes to villains for Sebastain‘s routine, as the Big Bad from Nightmare Before Christmas – Oogie Boogey – had his time in the spotlight. Surrounded by ectoplasmic backup dancers on his infamous roulette wheel, the spectral green boogeyman got down in high-funk style!
Act Five: Zach Starostin – Labrinth – Jealous
A somber and moving piece was at the center of tonight’s show, and rightly so: The Starostins produced a piece to honor a friend lost to suicide. After a heart-gripping monologue about the young man who inspired the piece, Zach danced atop a bridge in a heavenly garden, in sync with an angel floating below the still waters. Elysium has scarcely witnessed a more personal and powerful homage, with every detail a work of art shaped with care for a dear friend.
Act Six: Jo with Sebastain – Will O’ Wisps – Brandon Feitcher
The next act had no less a bucolic setting, but was far more fantastical – a garden that could only exist in a storybook, with luminescent plants and drifting sparkles. The center of the dance was a Will O’ Wisp, Jo, who soon found her own hero in the form of a Huntsman. The pair, clad in silvery clothing and encircled by a court of wild beasts, cavorted with passion above a starry night that was straight from Van Gogh’s imagination, making it a truly glorious tableau about the most romantic archetypes of heroism.
Act Seven: Babypea with Fuki, Kyshra, BB and Sorcha – Mannequin Factory – Porcelain Black
Is the female form itself something heroic and holy? Babypea certainly made that statement, with a piece devoted to the allure of the feminine shape. As sterling silver figures danced and posed in a spectrum of movements that ranged from coy to catty, lighting effects flashed around that would put a firework show to shame. The setting evolved into an entire factory of these faceless, shapely mannequins, striking a note of cultural commentary and delivering a spectacular climax. I was honored to be one of her dancers and blessed by the best birthday present ever – being on stage as part of the Elysium family!
Act Eight: Ame – Requiem for a Soldier – Band of Brothers Soundtrack
Focus then fixed where it truly belonged for the Veterans Day finale – a routine devoted to the brothers in arms within the armed services. Set in a gorgeous park and strewn with falling leaves, Ame‘s dance featured a slideshow of veterans through a history of conflict. It was a marvelous message of gratitude to soldiers, sailors and air force across the world, made resonant by Gunner’s gracious urging that we should do all we can to honor the vets we meet in our daily lives.
Act Nine: Crowd Dance by Kyshra – Brick House 2003 (Rob Zombie), Fat Bottomed Girls (Queen), Bootylicious (Destiny’s Child)
The crowd dance by Kyshra brought the show to a rousing conclusion. The audience piled onto the stage before an abstract background that was glamorous enough for a Broadway production, and danced as one to a roster of songs that sang strong about sexy ladies.
Honoring fallen friends and the sacrifice of the armed services, Elysium presented a show with dignity and grace. Their holiday series continues on with more special events in the future. Be sure to be among the seats as the year finishes out with some of the biggest acts of the season!
Photos by Sorcha and Storm Wylde.