Dance show 'Viva Las Vegas' explores America’s playground

Aug 24, 2015








BATAVIA — Tara Pocock’s parents have always been her biggest fans.

But they are especially excited about her latest self-scripted production of “Viva Las Vegas,” the dancer/choreographer says.

“My parents go to Vegas all the time. It is known for the entertainment, dancing and singing. It’s sin city,” Pocock said. “I pretty  much shove it in the audience’s face.”

Her 90-minute show debuts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Harvester 56 Theater on Harvester Avenue.

Ten cast members are ready to dazzle in sequins, glitz and glam. There are “lots of feathers and lots of showgirls,” Pocock said. Other decor includes sparkles, slot machines and the Statue of Liberty to represent the New York New York Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

The main ensemble goes to Vegas, in different scenarios, and ends up learning that there really is sin in sin city. One character struggles with a gambling addiction while the wannabe showgirl takes a stab at the big stage and a groom-to-be takes his girlfriend on a trip to the altar. A stripper sort of derails the groom’s plans, and the showgirl discovers that the glitz of Vegas isn’t always glamorous.

“We portray how Vegas really can be sin city. It can take your money, ruin your marriage and it’s not always the best place to go,” she said. “Things worked out, but not the way you thought it would.”

True to form, this show is rich in assorted dance forms with minimal lines. The music is fun and familiar, with “Viva Las Vegas,” an Elvis classic, “Hey Big Spender,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Waking up in Vegas” as some of the two dozen tunes to help share the plot.

Blake Carter is a 2014 Batavia High School grad pursuing theater arts at Genesee Community College. He plays the groom. His character is “very confused” and somewhat innocent when he lands in the city of lights. Pocock plays a stripper that beguiles and lures him from his dream of wedded bliss.

“Everything gets jumbled up,” Carter said. “After Tara his innocence is gone.”

He didn’t want to reveal the ending, though, since it will be a surprise for the audience. As someone who has been in plays at school and GCC, Carter is used to having spoken words. He had no problems communicating in other ways, he said.

“We mostly use our facial features and dance to express everything. I have a mix of contemporary and jazz,” he said, describing the show. “It’s a romantic comedy.”

Pocock foresees doing more of these dance-heavy shows, which have been drawing some new spectators. She always hopes for a packed house as actors get opportunities to display their talents.

“I think we’ll continue to do these shows because of the performance aspect of it,” she said. “We all have our everyday jobs. If we get a chance to perform, we love it.”

She rated the show good for patrons 13 and older. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and senior citizens and are available at the door. All proceeds will go to Batavia Players.