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 Post subject: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:28 am 
Audience Member

Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:50 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Merrickville, Ontario, Canada
Not intending to start a war :) Just a short commentary on my experience...

I saw Billy Elliot the Musical this past September in London. Prior to that I had no knowledge of the musical. While I had seen the movie numerous times, and loved it, I had no idea a musical version even existed. Sacrilege I know :) My family was going to be in London and we thought of seeing a musical and Google popped this one up! Obviously I knew ballet was involved, but I had no knowledge of the contents of the theatrical performance. I didn't even know there were multiple Billy's :)

For our performance we had a "street" Billy, Harrison to be precise. As I have never been a fan of classical ballet, I found the street dancing, and especially the acrobatics, to be very catching. It really drew my attention, and triggered a lot of research on my part after the performance. Then I discovered the ballet version (of Electricity specifically). Watching what I could find, Liam and Dean mostly, I came to appreciate the classical ballet. The skill involved to flow so gracefully is amazing. My attempts at pirouettes are quite comical :)

So I find myself in the strange position where I am glad I saw street, as that got my attention, but that has made me appreciate the ballet aspect, and I wish I could see that too.


Allan.


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:53 am 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6807
As they say, 'Variety is the spice of life'.

I know what you mean: my first two performances included a ballet Billy (Daniel Russell) and a street/hip hop Billy, Lex Ishimoto. I found both variations compelling and effective. I recently commented that Harrison's street Electricity really got a Thursday matinee crowd (many school kids) enthused - but they all inspire and excite.


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:14 pm 
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Billy
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:05 am
Posts: 3702
Location: Malverne (Long Island), NY
I prefer ballet for Electricity, but the one and only time I saw a "street" Electricity, also by Lex, I immediately jumped from my seat in a standing ovation. It was absolutely thrilling to watch! I'd wager to guess though that after seeing only a street Electricity, seeing the ballet version afterward would excite you just as much!

Thanks for offering up the conversation piece!
Sean


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:23 am 
Tall Boy
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Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:33 am
Posts: 212
Location: SF
Great topic! Can't say I prefer one over the other, but I do love the fact that I get to see both! I have only seen a few street Billy's and their versions of Electricity are fabulous. Thinking back to the first time I saw Ryan, I must admit I was jumping out of my chair to give him a standing ovation as I was completely blown away by his performance, the same for Harrison, they are both amazing performers. I also love a great ballet electricity too. I feel spoiled this past year by getting to see Drew Minard perform his stunning ballet masterpiece and Harrison Dowzell taking it up a notch with his street version. They're all amazing!


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:01 am 
Michael
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:41 am
Posts: 1757
Location: Rhode Island
This is a great topic. I have always been interested in the "street" version of electricity. In the 59 shows I have see I have only seen Ballet Billies. I have seen many videos of Billies from London and a lot of them are "street". The ones that come to mind are Fox Jackson Keen,Harrison Dowzell,and Ali Razul all of whom do a pure street version of Electricity. They look exciting but I am so used to Ballet Electricity that it seems very foreign to me. The hopping pirouettes look silly to me. To be fair I only saw videos and not the performance in the full context of the show on stage. I am sure that our members from England have a better perspective having seen both many times.
When I think of Electricity I see Kiril,Cesar,Giuseppi,Drew (a few who blew me away with their beautiful ballet skills.) So as of right now I only know the Ballet style Electricity.
Bill described Lex Ishimoto as a Street/hip hop Billy, I saw him twice and I would describe his Electricity as a hybrid, a mix of Ballet and spectacular gymnastics. Like Sean(who described Lex as a street Billy) I was amazed the first time I saw his Electricity. Perhaps my memory is faulty,I am old, and this was a long time ago, but I think I remember Lex as having some beautiful ballet moves in his Electricity.
In any case I am looking forward to May when I go to London for the first time and get to see 4 shows including the 9th anniversary show. I really look forward to seeing at least one street Billy (live on stage).


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:37 am 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6807
Joe is correct; Lex's Electricity was a hybrid between ballet and hip hop. The London 'Street' Billys are more pronounced in their urban version of Electricity than I remember coming from Lex.

Different too is the London 'Street' score (and orchestration); the London 'Street' Electricity is far more 'pop', and quite different than the ballet version, or the version that accompanied Lex.


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:50 am 
Small Boy

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:26 pm
Posts: 75
And Lex was a member of a hip hop group before Billy. So you would think that he would be more comfortable with a version of Electricity more like London's. But he obviously fell in love with ballet. His hybrid version of Electricity was part of his transformation and he has been training and competing in ballet since leaving Billy.


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:09 pm 
George
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Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:35 pm
Posts: 538
Location: Canada
Well I can't really comment too much on a street version of Electricity as I haven't seen one. But I think I would still prefer a ballet version. I mean, the story is about a boy who wants to become a ballet dancer.
One of the pet peeves I've always had about BE is the lack of actually ballet in it. Don't get me wrong, the Billys are all amazing dancers, far above my level. But the only real heavy ballet numbers I can think of are Swan Lake and Electricity. Sure there is more sprinkled in, like in Solidarity and stuff. But it seems like if a little kid in the audience was to leave wanting to dance, they'd probably want to do tap, not ballet. And tap is amazing, I do it myself. I just find it a bit unusual for so much focus on tap in a story about a boy who becomes a ballet dancer.
That being said, all the dance numbers are amazing, and the dancers in the shows are brilliant. So I'm sure when I see a street version of Electricity, I'll love it too.


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:05 pm 
Ballet Girl

Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 9:05 pm
Posts: 290
Location: Sol-3, QA, Milky Way
I used to have a firm 'pro-ballet' opinion, but now...
It really doesn't matter to me any more - both street and ballet is, essentially, dance, as said by Helena in 'StreetDance 3D' (performed by Charlotte Rampling.)
There are more important things - how this or that Billy is able to deliver his part, how he is able to convey the emotions of his character to the audience. If he's able to, then I'll adore him, regardless of him being a street or ballet, if he's not, then...

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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:23 pm 
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Billy
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:05 am
Posts: 3702
Location: Malverne (Long Island), NY
Thanks for the clarification. My (younger) mind is no less faulty about plenty of things, so I appreciate you setting me straight! :)

Sean

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