Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks; The Concourse

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A stellar cast promises a stellar performance, and ‘Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks’ was no exception. Directed by award winner Sandra Bates, and written by the internationally acclaimed, Richard Alfieri, the Ensemble’s latest production has taken off, and can be found touring the Concourse at Chatswood until the 13th of March.

This is such a clever play. Lily Harrison, performed by the esteemed Nancye Hayes, advertises for a dance teacher, performed by the very talented Todd McKenney, who comes to teacher her six dance lessons in six weeks. Through the course of the play, we discover that there’s more them that meets the eye, and they comfort each other through past pains, and learn to accept help.

Although the Florida penthouse suite remains the same set throughout the production, and despite the fact that other characters make an appearance through the plotline, the show rests on the shoulders of theatre legends Hayes and McKenney. Their characters are bestowed with quick-witted dialogue and quips that drip with acidity and spite and yet- their characters are so rich. Ultimately, they have a genuine warmth that makes them endearing. Both characters are wounded souls, whose only balsam for loneliness becomes each other.

Hayes and McKenney take us on an emotional rollercoaster. The Concourse was full on opening night and the audience because roared with laughter. They are able to portray such a warmth and authenticity, and in doing so, their characters came to life with very real struggles and human concerns.

As can be expected, one of the highlights of the show was to see McKenney and Hayes dance. Todd McKenney is so light on his feet, so effortlessly flawless. Together with Hayes, they swept across the stage in a whirlwind of contemporary rock ‘n’ roll, swing, the Cha Cha, the Viennese Waltz, and the Foxtrot and more. Although Hayes is herself a well-seasoned dancer, she transitioned very plausibly from beginner to expert- and they never missed a beat.

With slick choreography and beautifully soft lighting, reminiscent of the American East Coast, this production is an all-round treat. And having casted professional dancers, it was lovely to see their performances placed emphasis on the characters and human story. Very enjoyable, and I recommend to all.



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Haiku #68

Here is a gift so
Lovingly bought, wrapped and giv’n.
[Did I ] remove the price-tag???????!!!!!!!!


  1. ALWAYS bring tissues. BYO toilet rolls and tissues. For napkins, toilet needs and for noses. No-where in Indonesia is there a toilet roll, especially in service stations on over-night bus trips. Your best chance to find a Western bathroom is in a Western fast food chain or big western hotel.
  2. BEWARE of squatty toilets. In some places, living creatures can be found swimming up out of them. Also, if you use your BYO toilet paper here, be scanty because it can block the system.
  3. GET as much sleep as you can, when you can. This won’t be hard because a lot of people sleep at various times of the day because of the heat anyway. On bus trips, you don’t know when you’ll get your next full night’s rest so sporadic shut-eye is better than nothing.
  4. ALWAYS bring DVT or hospital or aeroplane socks. These are thick and tight and they keep the blood pumping naturally to your toes while you sit on a bus from Jakarta to East Java for 19 hours. If you don’t you may get thick elephant ankles or worse, blood clots or nerve damage. IF YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN your special socks, wear ALL of your packed socks at the same time, for the duration of the journey. IF YOUR ANKLES ARE FAT LIKE AN ELEPHANT’S AND YOU’RE STRESSED, wear all your socks at once, overnight. When you rest, elevate your legs on a wall. Thick elastic just under the knees. Walk walk walk.
  5. DON’T assume that just because you understand the basics of Bahasa Indonesia that you can converse in the local dialect. Bahasa is a mongrel language and there is a different dialect for every region. WHEN DEALING WITH shop-keepers, don’t stress too much in the transaction. They want to make a sale, so they’ll make concessions for your feeble vocab. If you’re with family, they’ll either laugh and make it a joke for the rest of your holiday or gently tell you the correct punctuation.
  6. HAGGLING and bargaining ensures the best price, however, this is often difficult if your language is not within easy reach in a quick conversation.
  7. TRAVEL with a native speaker, native to the region. They can ask things that you didn’t think were relevant.
  8. GO to Borobudur around 7am or earlier. The air is cool and the tourist buses haven’t arrived yet.
  9. DON’T cave at the first souvenir shop you see. Shop comparatively. ALSO, THE SHOP-KEEPERS are vultures, however it’s their livelihood and source of income. When you turn them down, be kind, be gentle.
  10. PICK UP a Becak driver at Borobudur Terminal. He will know which food places are open to eat at during Ramadan, he’ll follow you around all day and become a personal guide and he’ll take you to the other two temples- Pawon and Mendut, the forgotten Buddhist temples in the region. 80 000 rupiah may sound steep, but it’s relatively AUD$8 and that’s 4 meals to the driver.



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