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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 14, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 02
Century High a high-spirited homage to the greatest dance movies
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Century High a high-spirited homage to the greatest dance movies

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Century High
Century Ballroom
Through February 12


Century High, a high-spirited camp comedy at Century Ballroom, is an absolute must-see music and dance revue that includes some of Seattle's best entertainers. Entertaining from beginning to end, the comedy, impeccable choreography, and hit soundtrack never wane as the audience is offered performances in the tradition of the best dance movies ever made. Whether you're a Grease fan or had the time of your life watching Dirty Dancing, you will fall in love with the cast of Century High.

Written by local drag and burlesque star Ben DeLaCreme, Century High is full of well-mannered students just trying to make the grade, but a few rebellious nogoodniks who refuse to stand still to the beat of everyone else's drum have formed a rough-and-tumble dance gang - and they ain't listenin' to nobody, no-how!

Ben DeLaCreme, the star of the show, plays Baby Grey, the new girl in town who falls for a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, Lindy Hop and West Coast swing dancer Jitterbug, played by Joshua Welter. Baby is forced to choose between her conservative upbringing - endorsed by Mother Grey, hilariously depicted by Cherdonna Shinatra, and Lou Henry Hoover's Paul Grey - and giving in to her own primal urges to dance.

The set is minimal, yet effective. The real space needed is the dance floor as one by one - but mostly in beautifully choreographed group numbers - the characters shake it down to salsa, tango, Lindy Hop, and West Coast swing.

The all-star cast is a dream. Perfectly matched with their respective characters, you get to see a side of some of these performers that they don't normally show. Case in point: Boylesque sensation Waxie Moon plays Ernestine, a nerd. Ruby Mimosa of Dance Belt fame, steals the show time and time again as Agnes, a God-fearing nerd who, with the help of Ernestine, try desperately to keep Baby away from the dance gang.

The Grey family is a hilarious view of an ultra-conservative train wreck of a family on the run from town to town, trying to keep their daughter safe from devilish outside influences. Cherdonna Shinatra delivers a laugh-out-loud performance of an overbearing, pill-popping mess of a housewife. Lou Henry Hoover plays the father, Paul, who - without speaking one line - says a million things with interpretive dance, physical comedy, and a vintage plaid wardrobe. They represent the family you never wanted but can't take your eyes off of for fear you might miss a laugh!

Accomplished dancer Joshua Welter pulls off the corny Jitterbug as he woos Baby into his arms and his dance gang through one cheesy line after another - it's all very 'Nobody puts Baby in the corner.' He is a joy to watch and he clearly has fun as he performs in a majority of the production numbers.

The dance gang - all costumed in a different style of dance movie genre - is comprised of true dance professionals Fankick (Alison Cockrill, salsa), Hammerlock (Hallie Kuperman, Century Ballroom owner and all-around badass dancer), Pirouette (Michelle Badion, tango, salsa, West Coast swing), Sugarpush (Deron Hayes, salsa, West Coast swing), Kickballchange (Joshua Sturgeon), and a Saturday Night Fever character (Wladamir Pino, salsa, tango).

The amazing Dance Belt (Waxie Moon, Inga Ingenue, and Lou Henry Hoover) makes two cameo appearances as The Television. Their dance medley of Lady Gaga songs and dance moves is the highlight of the show. You may remember Dance Belt's flawless interpretation of Beyoncé's 'Single Ladies' - this is even better!

The Dream Angel number, performed by Monica Gilliam, is absolutely beautiful.

Century High is performed Saturday nights from January 15 until February 12. Tickets to the show are $25 and include a beginning salsa lesson and a dance afterward. I, however, highly recommend that you buy the $60 ticket, which entitles you to a delicious three-course gourmet dinner, the show, and dance lessons. The show is all-ages, but the dance is 21+. For group reservations and dinner seating call the Century Ballroom at (206) 324-7263. For more information about Century Ballroom and Century High, go to www.centuryballroom.com.

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