Taking rhythmic steps to “stop time” -- and delving into a costume trunk to turn back the clock in fine fashion -- The Diane Davisson Dancers tap into era and style-defining tunes of the last century, in Stop Time: A Song and Dance SpecTAPular. Guest-starring with the troupe for the first time are world renowned dancer-choreographers Jordi Caballero (Dancing with the Stars, Bravo’s Step It Up and Dance, 78th Annual Academy Awards) and Zita Gonzalez (Broadway’s Forever Tango) and Gonzalez’s daughter Giovanna Dan (Ballet Folklorico Juvenil AALA), who turn up the heat with Argentine tangos.
“While Stop Time celebrates classic American music, thematically the show is about living in the moment and exploring creative instincts that are with us since childhood. To that end, a la A Chorus Line, company members will share personal, dance-related stories with the audience, revealing early experiences that led them to shuffle onstage as adults,” said artistic director/choreographer Davisson, adding, “I want people to leave the show eager to dance or pursue whatever creative activity they have always imagined -- and not to allow technology to steal so much of their time.”
Moreover, Davisson found that film director Baz Luhrmann’s stated aim in remaking The Great Gatsby expressed exactly what she hopes to do with Stop Time, which also spotlights the flapper era: “...to take something very old, flip it over, shake it up and re-present it for its original universal value but [also] in a way that can be received and perceived in this moment and this time."
The spirited show opens with Scott Joplin’s Stop-Time Rag and features full-company tap renditions of Anything Goes, Stomping at the Savoy, Begin the Beguine, Night and Day, Everything Old Is New Again and Sing, Sing, Sing, as well as tap solos If They Could See Me Now and I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Rhythm tap soloist Mel Lewis will improvise to Where or When and Autumn Leaves, accompanied by clarinetist Fred Rodriguez. Samantha Tobey of the band The SqueeGees will sing Circle Game; Steve Bradley lends his rich baritone to Sands of Time; soprano Tina Appel sings a delectable rendition of Kander & Ebb’s Sara Lee; former Big Band singer Frankie Davenport waxes nostalgic with I’ve Heard that Song Before, as does a quintet of company members with a spoof of Memory. Bradley and his wife Anne-Marie, who entertain for various cruise lines, also take a turn with ballroom dance.
The Diane Davisson Dancers have toured coast-to-coast and in Brazil. Locally in recent years they performed at the Miles Playhouse and Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre in Malibu. Members range in age from thirties to seventies and include a college statistician, accountant, nurse, voiceover artist, teacher and real estate agent.