Taking the long way home from House Of Modern Dance (HOMD) which is located downtown Minneapolis, I drove down Hennepin Avenue just to catch a glimpse of a building I'm in love with. Well all I could see in bright lights was that "Tina" the Broadway musical was COMING SOON to the Orpheum Theatre! I was excited but was not sure if I was going to be able to attended the show. Seemed as if the dates were against my pre-arranged engagements.
Later that week I got an email from a young lady asking if she could come and teach a master class at HOMD. It was the one and only Aliyah Caldwell, an Ikette from the Tina musical! I was absolutely stoked she wanted to come and teach our dancers. "I'd love to have you teach a class of mine!" I replied; but the fist thing I had to say was "Congratulations on your success!". Being casted in a Broadway musical is absolutely amazing and the goal of several of HOMD dancers. February 28th Ms. Aliyah showed up and put my dancers to WORK! Ms. Aliyah was so gracious and taught HOMD dancers a number from the musical titled "Shake A Tailfeather"!
Aliyah as an instructor brought back so many positive memories of when I was young dancing in several numbers with high energy! Aliyah brought poise, authority, skills, laughs, smiles, and energy! Watching her spring from her toes like she was the Red Bull, All Wings, was so inspiring for not only the dancers but for me as well. Aliyah stretched the dancers as if they were auditioning for Tina, and served up a big plate of no mercy on these 10-13-year-old's HOMD Elite Company dancers. Of course I was nervous when she sat on their backs, pulled them upward while in the splits, and pressed on their legs in the butterfly position even if knees were already on the ground. That no mercy is what it takes and Aliyah made sure they understood that. Oh and of course I knew my dancers would be alright; hey that's what they needed! "To hear if from someone else!". Not just anyone else but the Super Star Aliyah herself!
Aliyah brought passion and fire to our company but most of all she brought genuine love! After the girls learned the number, which was challenging for them, she sat and talked to our dancers for and extra 30 minutes. Truthfully answering all their questions, my Elite dancers were ready to take their skills to the next level. The next day during our "Turns and Leaps" supplemental lessons, my dancers brought their A Game, class went by too fast that day!
After our experience with Aliyah I knew I'd have to do whatever it took to take my daughter, who was present and who is also an HOMD Elite dancer, to see Tina! We had to see Aliyah dance and sing across that stage no matter what! I found the time in my schedule and bought us tickets. Unfortunately the show ended up canceled the day we bought tickets for. I didn't let that stop us from going. I made time for a different day and we made a Friday night with seats in section J close to the front of the stage!
We could see EVERYTHING! We could hear EVERYTHING! The bright lights from the show created excitement as if we were really at a Tina concert watching her live! The costumes were on point and brought a real since of history and time error. The story line was enjoyable as it has it's differences from the movie. I found the storyline to be appropriate and pleasant, it captured the story of Tina but yet, was still appreciate for a pre-teen. Although the life of Tina is no joking matter the executive producers were able to manage to bring humor and laughter to the dialog.
Garrett Turner who was Ike, amazing! He really played his role to a T. The way he moved around the stage made the audience speak and gasp striking emotions! I enjoyed the storyline of Tina's family, her mother, grandmother, and father as well. The song choices were relevant to the scenes and "little Tina", Ayvah Johnson, is a MUST HEAR VOICE, she has pipes like a grown woman! She was memorizing to watch!
Tina on the Friday March 10th, was an understudy. I'm not sure which understudy but based off the photos in my pamphlet I'd guess it was Karen Burthwright. She did an outstanding job! There were times when the mic was too loud, there were times when I wanted more of that Tina sound, but let me tell you...before the show was over I forgot I was watching Karen because Tina was in full affect for the finally. Honestly that's what I remember most about Tina's performance that night. She nailed the songs, she nailed the choreography, and she ended with me driving home listening to "The Best Of Tina Turner" on YouTube.
What about Aliyah Caldwell? How did she do? FREAKING AMAZING! I'm was so impressed and I'm not just saying that. I'm a person who lives an honest life and I would not say I was impressed if I wasn't. Everyone knows that about Mrs. Carmilla! Aliyah killed the number titled "I Want To Take You Higher"! Killed it! All I could see was her energy, she really brought the song to life, the people in the seats next to m
e were enjoying the high energy and as well! I thought Aliyah was just going to be an Ikette! Boy was I in for a treat! Not only was Aliyah an Ikette but she was also apart of the ensemble so we got to enjoy Aliyah on the stage the entire show! What a pleasure that was! We could hear Aliyah's voice, her projection was perfect and on key in every song. Her dance moves were on point she graced every move with perfection! Oh and when "Shake A Tailfeather" happened, it not only happened on stage but it happened for real in our seats! My daughter HOMD Elite dancer and I were both on the edge of our seats doing all the moves she taught us! We had so much fun watching Aliyah live and in action but not just performing but delivering!
Tina The Musical was an experience HOMD would of never experienced in the way we did if it wasn't for Aliyah Caldwell. After the show Aliyah met me and my daughter in the lobby and we laughed and talked as if we knew each other our entire lives. I am truly thankful for my new friend Aliyah and look forward to seeing her grow as she continues to kill it across stages throughout this world.
-House Of Modern Dance & House Of Theater
Mrs. Carmilla Bobmanuel