The musical “42nd Street” features tap dancing

The opening scene fills the disciples. The theater’s red curtain rises to one meter and reveals the real chorus line: the feet of the troupe’s 47 dancers are perfectly synchronized into a breathtaking tap dance number. Spectacular feet, spectacular sets, glittering and feathered costumes, songs and hits, with a live orchestra playing… Let the show begin, Broadway-sur-Seine!

An impressive introduction to this musical 42nd StreetDirected and choreographed by British Stephen Mear in 2016, it had a small impact during its first program at the Châtelet: “At the end of the number, an audience member shouted, ‘We’re on Broadway!’ remembers Edwiche Larralde, one of the French dancers engaged in this English troupe. We all heard it on stage and it really carried us through the whole show! »

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A very high level of demand

There is no doubt that this return will be as well-received as the first: the script describes a perfect mise en abyme, the presence of the theater in the theater, as it tells the musical comedy scene of the historical star during rehearsals in New York. , but falls down the descending stairs and is replaced by a talented young debutante. All in the post-crisis social context of 1929. 42nd Streetit’s also the golden age of Broadway, a frenetic energy that serves a typical musical intrigue: competition, love, ambition and, above all, an exhortation to fight to follow your dream with strikes of perseverance and talent.

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Also read – When the Child Appears, Music Hall, The Delicate Situation… Theater Critics of the Week

Created in 1980 from the 1933 film, the show embraces all the codes of the genre with panache: “Stephen Mear and his teams have very high standards, especially for ensembles that require perfect unity, arm work, upper body work, very meticulous line placements, Edwige Larralde, the 2013 world champion in tap dancing, continues. We work hard to get an accurate rendering. » Especially for this discipline that cuts through the entire fabric: “There are two styles of tap dancing, the dancer who started training at the age of 10 continues. Called Broadway Tap on 42nd Street, this musical is made for movies: dance, visuals, and upper body are essential. Another genre, “Rhythm Tap”, uses the feet as a percussion instrument: therefore, more emphasis is placed on the footwork and the sound produced by the tap dance. »

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With this great classic, the Châtelet theater thus reaffirms its status as a perfect place for Anglo-Saxon musicals in France, with fifteen years of programming. Reading in the Rain, West Side Story or An American in Paris… These colorful shows, which are not part of French culture, are becoming more and more successful. Movies where we sing and dance La La Land Damien Chazelle or Artist Michel Hazanavicius was there and participated in renewing the standards associated with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, two brilliant references of the genre.

Make music with your feet

By the way, tap dancers are also dusted with their cane and hat clichés. “Anglo-Saxons have been practicing tap dancing since childhood and this discipline is integrated into their education. Edwige Larralde continues. In France they are also developing and there are very good dance schools, where there are options for tap dance… Now the children train in all styles of music: I even give Soprano lessons! »

To tap dance is to anchor the floor, to dance with your feet and make music, to be both a musician and a dancer… A complex but devilishly enjoyable task, just like the music itself: “They say it makes you happy, and it’s true! Edvige encourages. This discipline is magical… The audience leaving 42nd Street is grinning from ear to ear and full of energy. I hope it makes them want to go outside! »

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