By Jan Hogan
VIEW STAFF WRITER
Posted: Aug. 9, 2011 | 12:18 a.m.
It's "A Chorus Line" meets "Dancing With The Stars" on the Las Vegas Strip. Producers Michael Kessler and Melinda Jackson have announced a new show, "Love 2 Dance," which showcases local dancers.
"Love 2 Dance" is at times uplifting, humo rous and stark in this intimate look at dance and the highs and lows of the profession.
"People think dancing is very glamorous, but it's a tough profession," Jackson said.
The hours are tough. The regime is tough. The competition is tough. And yet, they keep dancing.
The show features 18 top dancers and choreographers from prominent shows such as "Jersey Boys," "Phantom -- The Las Vegas Spectacular," "Jubilee!," "O," and even France's "Lido de Paris."
Almost every genre is included -- jazz, tap, ballet, ballroom, break dancing.
It's full of dance numbers, yes, but also full of stories. The stories tell the lives of the dancers, their triumphs and challenges, by using their own words ... literally.
The show integrates videotaped interviews with each dancer. Caught in moments of reflection, they share how they feel when dancing, who inspired them, how they'd like to be remembered, their struggles and what piece of music they'd like to hear as they close their eyes for the last time.
One of the principal dancers in the show, Don Bellamy, knows all too well about personal struggle. His family went without basic necessities so he could pursue his love of dance.
"My mother sacrificed so much. ... Sometimes the electricity would be cut off and the lights would go out because it was time to buy us dance shoes," Bellamy said.
The show also includes a light hearted vignette on how Jackson and Kessler first met in ballet class in New York City in the 1980 s. They went on to perform worldwide together and are now married.
To further keep things light, Kessler and Jackson appear as 95-year-old characters who comment on the show.
"It gives you more license, because old people can get away with saying things that other people can't," Kessler said.
Liz Elliott-Lieberman has performed in the show. She studied ballet in London and "then discovered American jazz." That led to her life taking a turn, and she went on to dance in various production shows, including landing the lead in "Jubilee!"
Being interviewed for the video portion of the show, she said, evoked a lot a of memories.
"It was like reliving our careers," she said. "The way they have it (the show) set up, it's like you're stepping in and out of character. It's really clever."
Another dancer, Louisa Long, who was in a past production, appeared in "Legends in Concert" and in "Masquerade Show in the Sky." She said dancing was "more a passion than a job" and hoped that came through in the show.
"We're letting everyone know what we go through," she said.
Tony Coppola does the tap number a cappella. He said the producers expertly interject the video as the number is being performed.
"I admire them for bringing a different style of show to Vegas than we have here now," he said.
Contact Summerlin and Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 387-2949.