We are now in the Oscars’ season but: there will be no red carpet… there will be no popping of champagne corks or flash bulbs… there will be no glitzy ceremony…
Never mind. Strictly Come Dancing stars Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manrara are Remembering The Oscars with a spectacular hour-long streaming event – a taster for their Remembering The Oscars tour, sadly postponed until 2022. The ticketed streaming event is available to view until 17th April along with In conversation with Aljaž & Janette led by ITV’s Richard Arnold and an exclusive 30-minute Behind The Scenes documentary.
Remembering The Oscars is a mouth-watering celebration of dance in the movies with the annual Oscars Awards as a theme pulling together some of the most treasured moments in film history. The opening sequence features the glitz of a red-carpet arrival and a whistle-stop tour through some great films including the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers samba from The Gay Divorcee, the Viennese waltz from The Way We Were, Janette strutting her stuff to Flashdance and the iconic lift from Dirty Dancing. Phew, all that (and more!) in just the opening few moments.
Throughout the show Aljaž and Janette are supported by a wonderful troop of dancers, featuring Ash-Leigh Hunter, who also dances with Aljaž, and the singing talents of Janine Johnson and Giovanni Spano.
Aljaž and Janette introduce each section of the show and drop the bombshell that despite the long and glorious history of dance in the cinema, Best Choreography was only ever recognised at the Oscars on three occasions in the 1930s with no specific awards since. The couple put that to rights by putting forward their ‘honourary’ contenders for such an award.
These include some of the greatest dance films of all time: An American In Paris, Carousel, Singing In The Rain, La La Land and Chicago with All That Jazz giving Janette the opportunity to show off he vocal talents, too.
For their tribute to Best Picture the Strictly stars selected just two for the live stream, one a winner and one only a nominee. Kissing You, from Romeo and Juliet (1996), was included in their previous Remembering The Movies tour and was always one song they wanted to choreograph. As they tell Richard Arnold in the interview stream, it is a personal favourite, and it makes a return to their Oscars’ show with a beautiful and tender, almost balletic, sequence, intense and passionate. Their other selection also brings passion but with fire, the Argentine tango from Scent Of A Woman.
No Oscars celebration would be complete without Disney and this, Janette says, is her favourite bit of the show as Disney films have some phenomenal songs. The section begins with Circle Of Life and Can You Feel The Love from The Lion King. Other films include Beauty Ad The Beast, Aladdin and Mary Poppins. Lots of dance sequences here for the company and also another chance for Janette to sing whilst bearing an uncanny resemblance to one Julie Andrews.
Just a taste, then, of what will be on offer for next year’s Remembering The Oscars tour. Some brilliant routines for Aljaž and Janette and the whole company, from the tenderness of Romeo And Juliet to the spectacular vibrancy and colour of Aladdin, this will be a show not to be missed.
Also worth checking out are the other two streams on offer. The look Behind The Scenes shows the intense effort and planning required to film the show over just two days at the Bournemouth International Centre. The cast, the crew and choreographer Gareth Walker also have plenty to say as they deal with the added pressures of social distancing in a pandemic with rehearsals online and then just five days to perfect the routines – with two new cast members – before shooting begins. All in all, a fascinating insight.
In conversation with Aljaž & Janette, Richard Arnold listens to them declare that they believe their Oscars tribute is the best thing they have done, following their previous Remembering Fred and Remembering The Movies tours. Their passion for what they do is very evident and Janette stresses that they always strive to create something that has genuine artistic merit.
The couple also tell Richard Arnold that Strictly Come Dancing saved their relationship. Having met while working in the UK they both faced the prospect of having to return to their respective homelands in Slovenia and America when they got the call to join Strictly. Not only did it give them the security of work, they also married whilst on Strictly and put together their ideas for their touring shows.
The Remembering The Oscars livestream event runs from 7.30pm on Saturday 27th March to Saturday 17th April 2021.Tickets are priced at £15 per stream, available online at www.rememberingtheoscars.com. Additional content In Conversation with Aljaž and Janette and Behind the Scenes with Aljaž and Janette are also available priced at £5 each.