Finesse: An Australian First

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Whilst always being required of course for Salsa and Latin dance classes, ‘heels’ have rarely been seen in a regular dance school until very recently. Now you can find ‘heels’ classes on many weekly dance timetables at studios everywhere, but reviewing the first specific heels dance show in Australia, is very exciting!

The Siren Heels Company “Finesse” launch on Friday 5th July 2024 promised “delicate, impressive and sexy”. Excellent and engaging dancers, Estelle, Georgia, Jaime, Jessica, Jordan, Kimmie, Liam, Lia, Maddy, Sarah and Vicki, bring the vision together with Director and Founder of the new venture, 25 year old Peyton Leete.

Rehearsals must have indeed been taxing but worth the long hours as their timing and syncopation on the accents of the music is slick and their energy endless. All the dancers, including Peyton herself, are a tight team for the entire program – smooth transitions and incredible stamina is also on show here, and yes, you’ll hold your breath and your heart will skip a beat or two in parts.

Firstly, the music choices on the program can’t be beaten, they are perfectly selected from yesteryear’s Hollywood glamour to a modern day Catwalk vibe. Secondly, great costuming must be praised and it would have taken some very creative wardrobe brains to think of how black lace and a red garter would go strutting alongside a bright orange puffer jacket and make it work!  

In the showcased burlesque items, I wonder what designers of the essential corset undergarment in early centuries women’s fashion would say about these current elegant pieces, which definitely do not seem to hinder any breathing or ability to move.

Act 1 is full to the brim of everything ‘JAZZ’ – A fitting opening “Feeling Good”, choreographed by Peyton, has everyone on-stage and in the audience knowing that a long awaited night is now full steam ahead!

So, let me get right to the point, no dance show taking you back in time is complete without Fosse and a favourite was surely ‘Big Spender’. Originally written for the musical Sweet Charity, I doubt there’s another song even remotely similar that packs a punch like it does. A flashback moment in itself, I remembered performing to this song in my own youth as I watched Maddy’s solo, though the moves were a lot more tame back then (haha), and Maddy a lot more daring!

Fun fact, whilst ‘Big Spender’ is famous for Shirley Bassey and Peggy Lee, it was actually recently discovered that Cilla Black first performed it at London’s Savoy Hotel in 1966, by a forgotten tape found by her family. It makes a memorable moment to watch dancers perform to a song with interesting history. My grandmother would have known the words off by heart and although if she were here today she may not have approved entirely of Maddy’s attire, my 18 year old daughter sitting beside me and listening to the song for the first time, loved it!

‘Jaguar’ performed by Jordan is eye-catching choreography and her technical training is obvious, but her interaction with the audience was what stood out for me with this solo and I’ve seen a zillion dance solos over the years. Her gorgeous persona shone, she was mysterious and told the story she wanted to tell while we listened.

Act 2 is themed ‘FRENCH’ – filling the theatre with anticipation on shadows as ‘Derniere Danse’ dimmed the lights and ‘Fever’ heated up the lighting. However, I had seen in advance that ‘Toxic’ was on next – you know when you want to say turn up the volume, because Jessica definitely did that defining single justice. Then a WOW with ‘Roxane’ (I’m a tango fan), performed by Sarah – insane dancing, flawless execution.

Act 3 titled ‘FAME’ – I absolutely have to give a shout out to Liam for his solo ‘Queen of Pop’. Boys who dance never cease to be an incredible inspiration and steadfastly prove that this industry is definitely for both sexes and who doesn’t love a death drop, especially when you least expect it. The crowd did go wild!

If we were not informed by now that the growing popularity in ‘heels’ classes can incorporate many genres of dance, Kimmie’s talent certainly amplified this in her very rhythmic and more commercial style solo, before the group remix of Britney Spears’ hits was the showstopper highlight.

I won’t give anything else away, there’s a LOT in this show, there’s a lot of dancing, a lot of iconic music, a lot of smiling, clapping, jaw-dropping action, but mostly I would say there is LOVE. Love for dance, love for showcasing dancing in heels with excitement, and of course it’s sultry and sassy from start to finish, so the show suits older teens and adults because it does have mature themes throughout.

Peyton created Siren Heels Company because she wanted to create a space that nurtures passion and creativity. This company is for dancers who want to inspire each other and challenge the ideas of Heels dancing which encompasses many genres and styles. The idea for Siren Heels Company came to her five years ago and she started planning. Her new company embodies the values of treating people fairly, working hard, having fun and supporting each other.

“Heels is often misconceived as being hyper sexualised and in actual fact this show is all about class and fun” Peyton said, and after countless rejections from those who have not always treated her like the professional that she is proud to be, she wants Heels dancing to be appreciated as the art form it deserves to be known for.

If you are interested to see what it’s all about, there is still time to grab a last minute ticket for Saturday 6th July 7pm via trybooking https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1230831 or keep an eye out for the next Siren Heels show – auditions are open and this is just the beginning …..

Congratulations to Peyton, who has been brave enough after dancing for more than two decades herself to develop her own dance company and put her heart and love into what she and her cast clearly love, those HIGH HEELS!

ps. the Silver Boots – where do you get them????

NOTE: This show was hosted at Melbourne Dance Centre, Brunswick. Parking is easy in the street or near Coles – walking distance away. The theatre venue is warm with tiered seating and a glass of wine was on offer with a welcoming atmosphere.

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

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