The Rock Company of Las Vegas brought the audience and judges to tears in about a minute during NBC’s “World of Dance” last month.
The question now is, how to top that poignant performance?
“We don’t want to cry again,” says choreographer Quinn Callahan, owner of The Rock Center for Dance who designed the troupe’s powerful dedication to the victims of the Oct. 1 shootings. “We felt a huge responsibility, as if the world was on our shoulders. We pulled it off. I think now we’re just going to go for it.”
The Rock Company’s next performance is 9 p.m. Wednesday on the show’s Duels 4 round.
In its July 10 qualifying appearance on the dance competition, The Rock Company’s 12-member team danced to Emeli Sande’s cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” The opening segment was the kids moving as a long chain, covering their partners’ ears with their hands.
At the culmination of the performance, judge Jennifer Lopez climbed onstage and hugged the entire troupe — all of whom are between the ages of 10 and 16 — as fellow judge Derek Hough stood and applauded. Even after multiple viewings of the routine on YouTube, you still get chills at that moment.
“We thought we could put something together that would impact our country and make a difference,” Callahan says. “In many ways the routine sort of wrote itself. We just needed to show in a minute and a half how to show the talent of the kids.”
As the kids’ stunned expressions indicated, Lopez’s move to the stage was completely unexpected.
“We were just really emotional when she came on the stage, and we weren’t thinking she’d be up there with us,” The Rock Company member Easton Magliarditi says. “We were all gathered together, like a family.”
What The Rock Company will perform Wednesday is being kept secret, but the choreographer says the troupe will again make Vegas proud.
“We will be at our best. I never feel like we have it made in the shade, but that’s just me,” Callahan says. “A lot of our kids are like that, too. But they know what to do, and we’ll show a contrast to what we’ve already done, and show something unexpected.”
Fire and the Space
The joke was about fire, but Clark County officials aren’t laughing.
County inspectors plan to investigate The Space this week after a fire act was staged without proper use permits at the July 23 performance of Mondays Dark. During that show, John Shaw, a nationally known magician famous for using fire in his performances, was featured at the event benefiting Sin City Sisters.
As part of his routine, Shaw poured fuel into his mouth and breathed fire several feet across the stage, to the cheers of about 250 guests who filled the venue.
Space proprietor Mark Shunock, who is characteristically unbridled in his shtick from the stage, announced that he hadn’t bothered to secure proper permits to present Shaw’s act. Shunock later called out to the crowd, “If you took pictures of the fire, delete that (expletive)! We don’t have the permits!”
That was at once a joke and a fact. Shunock had not obtained a temporary operating permit to showcase a fire act in The Space. The county has thus opened a code complaint (noting a violation of county operating codes) against the venue, and is meeting with Shunock at The Space to review his safety apparatus.
Shunock says he takes full responsibility for the county’s review of the matter. The man who founded both The Space and Mondays Dark was not aware of the scale of Shaw’s act until a few hours before the show.
“This is definitely on me, I shouldn’t have allowed it, it’s my own stupidity for letting it happen,” Shunock said Saturday afternoon. “It was an oversight on my part. But people need to be confident the Space is a safe place, I would not jeopardize anyone’s safety, and everything we have installed is up to code.”
Famed Dutch magician and onetime Strip headliner Hans Klok has told the Dutch publication De Telegraph he’s signed a 10-year contract to perform eight shows per week on the Strip next year. No reason to doubt that. Klok is in partnership with Adam Steck and SPI Entertainment to headline a Vegas resort.
Though no venue deal is signed, expect Klok to perform nightly at the “Thunder from Down Under” and “Australian Bee Gees” showroom at Excalibur. Klok toured Strip shows “Inferno” at Paris Theater and “Masters of Illusion” in June.
You might remember, or not, that Klok headlined at Planet Hollywood Theater for the Performing Arts (now Zappos Theater) in 2007, with Pamela Anderson as his assistant. In December of that year, Klok earned the rare distinction of being honored with the World Magic Awards’ Magician of the Year Award AFTER his show closed.
Sands icon passes
George Levine, the famed “showroom captain” at the Sands’ Copa Room, died Saturday at age 93. “Georgie” was the father of former Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. He was the overlord of the Copa Room during the golden days of Strip entertainment when the Rat Pack and Wayne Newton headlined the showroom.
“To me, the most exciting guy who came to Las Vegas was Elvis,” Levine, for whom $100 seating tips were not uncommon, once said. “Frank (Sinatra) had the coolest people and the hippest people and the Hollywood people. Then along came Wayne Newton … I’d turn away 300 people every show. Wayne Newton was the biggest draw Las Vegas ever had.”
Levine also said Steve & Eydie were the most entertaining act he’d seen.
Funeral services are at 9 a.m. Sunday at King David Memorial Chapel at 2697 E. Eldorado Lane in Las Vegas. Burial follows at Palm Valley View Memorial Park at 7600 S. Eastern Ave. Donations to honor Levine can be made to Nathan Adelson Hospice and Shelley Berkley Elementary School.
Note: This version corrects the version of “Imagine” in The Rock Company’s performance on “World of Dance.”