Theatre in Wales

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Last Choir Standing lads kick off their shoes     

Last Choir Standing lads kick off their shoes Welsh singers Only Men Aloud! kicked off their shoes last night for an evening in Cardiff Bay.
Only there wasn’t any rest and relaxation for the 18 lads who have reached the final six of the BBC competition Last Choir Standing.
Rather, their choreographer was putting the Cardiff-based choir through its paces for this Saturday night’s first knockout show.

Kicking off their shoes? No, it isn’t part of the specially created song dance routine TV viewers will see this coming weekend. No shoes are allowed on the white dance floor of the Man Gwyn rehearsal studio at the Diversions Dance House so the lads had to work in their socks.

Diversions, the national dance company of Wales, threw open the doors of its prestigious building at the Wales Millennium Centre complex so the talented singers could use the studio with its full length mirrored wall of mirrors to practice the special routine for the hit BBC TV show.

It was a change from contemporary dance usually created and performed at the Dance House which also has intimate performance space, the Blue Room, used by the Diversions dancers, performing works by international choreographers.

Not that the Dance House facilities, amongst the finest in Europe, are not used to gruelling choreography and new work. The studios are also used by visiting dance companies and local dance professionals and development classes.

The venue will see its first season of performances starting in mid September with Diversions Silver: Autumn tour, part of its 25th birthday celebrations.

The lads will sing – and dance – in front of presenters Nick Knowles and Myleene Klass and judges including operatic singer Russell Watson.
With only six choirs now remaining they will all perform each week for the public vote to prove to viewers that they have the power, passion and performance to be the Last Choir Standing.

The number of choirs will drop each week from six to five to four and then just three still standing in the grand final.

Tim Rhys-Evans, the musical director of Only Men Aloud!, said: “The programme is great because it is making choirs cool. It’s also great that two Welsh choirs are through to the last six.

“I am really looking forward to the next four weeks and the guys are really enjoying the challenge of learning new repertoire every week, everything they are performing is new for them.

“The programme is concentrating on popular music so it is everything from Puccini to, well, Shirley Bassey!”

Tim started the choir in 2000 to perform music not often associated with traditional male voice choirs.

“The guys are also working with professional choreographer Paul Domaine, who has just done the last Take That! tour and they are really getting stuck into strutting their stuff.”
The choir consists of a range of careers including teachers, musicians, students, a gardener and a pharmacist.
And the routine? Well, clearly not tap dancing but there were a few canes being waved around.
 
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