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West Side Story + Dance Workshop with Lexy Robertson
February 16, 2018 @ 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm£4 – £8
West Side Story is one of those films you must see before 21 – and will want to carry on seeing at intervals throughout your life. It is in parts brilliant, effervescent and a reminder that stories repeat themselves throughout life and history. The story itself is based on “Romeo and Juliet”, with the Jets being the white Irish New Yorkers and the Sharks being Puerto Rican. The 1961 film is an adaptation of the 1957 broadway musical written by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins but with sublime music and lyrics by Sondheim and Bernstein, including “Tonight”, “I Like to Be …”, and “Maria”.
West Side Story stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris, and won Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 1961. It is culturally significant because it moves from dialogue through to jazz and improvisation showing mood and tone changes in the story dynamic in a totally groundbreaking way (for the time). As Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian said “.. Sondheim/Berstein’s musical take on Romeo and Juliet still has snap, crackle and pop”, and you will see echoes of it across most contemporary musicals.
As The New York Times said in 1961 “What they have done with West Side Story in knocking it down and moving it from stage to screen is to reconstruct its fine material into nothing short of a cinema masterpiece.”
This film event is for young people aged 11-15. We will run a group dance class AFTER the film, not quite Jets vs Sharks – but almost.
Lexy Robertson, who now directs her own dance company, will be teaching the dance class. Alex trained at the Italia Conti Academy London, since graduating Alex has travelled, high kicking her way around the world. Alongside performing Alex has taught dance since the age of 16 & has a passion for passing on her skills to others, from ballet to hip hop, Latin to tap making her a versitle performer and teacher. She currently teaches at Port Regis, Hanford, TLW dance Shaftesbury, Centre Stage Warminster and Italia Conti Associates Reigate. Alex lived in America being a showgirl in Atlantic City, Niagara Falls. A highlight of Alex’s career was dancing in the film ‘The Look of Love’ with Steve Coogan. Alex toured the UK in a girl band where they performed at festivals such as Wireless Festival in Hyde Park. She has performed shows in Toronto, Dublin, Germany, Monaco, and Singapore to name a few.
“Perhaps the most striking aspect of it [West Side Story] is the sweep and vitality of the dazzling Jerome Robbins dances that the kids of the seamy West Side do. Here is conveyed the wild emotion that burns in these youngsters’ tough, lithe frames. Here are the muscle and the rhythm that bespeak a collective energy.” The New York Times, 1961