Every once in awhile a work of theatre comes along that takes your breath away and while doing so ignites your imagination in such a way as to rejuvenate one’s faith in the power of performance; which at it’s core is a celebration of LIFE. HEARTBEAT OF HOME is such a show. Chicago, America’s new theatre capital marks the U.S. Premiere of this spectacular new offering from the Producers and Director of Riverdance. At once joyous and celebratory, HEARTBEAT OF HOME, delivers lush musical orchestrations and vivid, heart stopping video installations. These elements provide the back drop for some pretty amazing, extremely detailed and highly nuanced performances from nearly thirty world class dancers from Ireland, USA, Spain, Australia, Britain, Canada, Mexico and Italy, alongside aficionados of a wide array of musical instruments and singers of song in tow. I found myself on seats edge mesmerized for an entire two hours.
Having never experienced RIVERDANCE, I had no idea what lay in store for me. I was expecting two hours plus of Irish dance; which, truthfully, I’d have have enjoyed. What I experienced, however, was a show full of heart, longing and celebration. A show that arrests the audiences senses and speaks to every audience members notion of ‘home’. I found myself swept away by the lush musical orchestrations by Brian Byrne, by the languid and grand sweeping video installations David Torpey, and by the heartfelt power of the deeply emotional ballads sung by the amazing Lucia Evans. These elements aside, the power and force of this show belongs to the dancers. Evocative, emotional, dazzling footwork and a grand sweeping use of stage marks the expert craftsmanship, discipline and passion of these dancers. These dancers are simply PHENOMENAL, each one world class in their own right. Choreographer, David Bolger’s work is stupendous.
Two dancers, in particular serve as anchors for HEARTBEAT OF HOME; Clara Sexton and Bobby Hodges. Sexton, a petite dark haired pixie conjures images of Peter Pan. Each time Sexton graces the stage, it’s as if she literally floats on air. Her fancy footwork, breeziness of body, and devilish smile, all convey grace, spacial ease and immense joy. She soars, glides, floats; she enchants and is not one note short of amazing to watch. Bobby Hodges, exudes a commanding presence and deftly maneuvers his way through intricate dance sequences. If it can be said that a dancer can burn holes in the floor, than that can be said of Hodges. It’s been said of Hodges, he combines the energy of Gene Kelly with the grace of Fred Astaire and this is absolutely true. This young man is exuberant; a powerhouse of a dancer. He brings charm, fearlessness, good looks and PRESENCE to his work on stage.
Other stand outs amongst the dancers are; Angelo Gioffre, Stefano Domit, Teneisha Bonner, Curtis Angus, Clare Craze, and Vanessa Guevera. But truly, this is a gifted ensemble. An ensemble in every sense of the word. Each dancer brings brilliance, fortitude, heart and soul to their work. Each performer is so gorgeously committed to craft and to the storytelling of HEARTBEAT OF HOME which makes it at once compelling and soaring in it’s eloquence. Home means something different to everyone and this ensemble gloriously conveys the importance of home, family, community; the idea that HOME, no matter where it may be, wherever it is..it’s worthy of celebration. This production soars above the clouds and lands smack dab in the middle of your heart. It is simply and gorgeously a celebration of the human spirt; the humanity of us all. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW.
Reviewed by Madrid St. Angelo