The beat goes on around the world

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

The Beat­girls have re­fined their act over a decade and a half, but the pri­mary in­gre­di­ent is still en­ergy, says founder An­drea San­ders of Pau­ata­hanui.

This week they re­turn to a favourite venue, Circa The­atre, with Beat Camp. San­ders was among the first three Beat­girls 14 years ago, when they first per­formed Blame it on the Bossa Nova and The Beat­girls Live at Down­stage.

‘‘That was a bit of an ex­per­i­ment re­ally, that sort of worked. We had a full band at that stage,’’ she said.

‘‘For the first of the shows at Circa, which has been the most suc­cess­ful for­mat for us, we de­cided to take it down to just three girls, to ex­pand the reper­toire with­out the need for get­ting an 18-piece or­ches­tra to do all those Phil Spector wall-of­sound things. So we went on to back­ing track.’’ That was It’s My Party. ‘‘We’re go­ing back from the 1940s till now. Most of our shows are heav­ily 1960s-ori­ented. And this one [ Beat Camp] has got a lot of that in it. The Beat­girls will also cover mod­ern artists.

‘‘Artists like Amy Wine­house, for ex­am­ple, who are ob­vi­ously mod­ern artists, but she leans very heav­ily on the 60s for her im­age and her style of mu­sic. A lot of her songs are very rem­i­nis­cent of some of those songs of early Phil Spector, girl­group, Mo­town sound.’’

The Athens Olympics brought the Beat­girls wider recog­ni­tion. They were hired to per­form in Syd­ney at a Sports Il­lus­trated Olympics party, and then were taken on to Athens. ‘‘We went over there and did the par­ties and got on the To­day show in Amer­ica with Katie Couric,’’ San­ders said.

‘‘Af­ter that we just ended up get­ting gigs in the States. They are strange lit­tle gigs though.’’ The first was just 10 min­utes long in Mi­ami. Since then they have per­formed sim­i­lar cor­po­rate gigs in Colorado Springs, Puerto Rico, Des Moines and South Dakota, said San­ders. They use their spare time for cos­tume hunt­ing. ‘‘There’s this fan­tas­tic drag queen shop in Syd­ney that I go to. Some of us have got quite big feet, be­cause we’re are all quite tall, big girls.’’ The Beat­girls’ lineup shifts con­stantly, she said. ‘‘In the be­gin­ning there were three girls, and then two of them left af­ter six or seven months.’’

That was when McLaugh­lin joined, but a role in Short­land Street took her away for a while, and an­other girl was trained.

That process meant there were even­tu­ally a to­tal of 24 or 25 Beat­girls, eight or nine of whom may be ac­tive and avail­able at any given time.

‘‘If ev­ery­body ends up in town at the same time, sud­denly you’ve got six girls,’’ said San­ders.

‘‘That was when I re­alised that the group could ac­tu­ally con­tinue with­out me. Bad for the ego, but good for the busi­ness.’’

All the per­form­ers had dif­fer­ent strengths, said San­ders. ‘‘ Three or four do the An­drews Sis­ters show so you will get that group of peo­ple do­ing that show. It de­pends who’s suited to the event.

‘‘Some peo­ple are bet­ter suited to the big, sta­dium-type events where you need to be very tight dancers, great singers.

‘‘And then there are other shows where you need more comedic skills – peo­ple who can talk to the au­di­ence more.’’

Beat Camp is run­ning at Circa The­atre un­til Oc­to­ber 30.


High en­ergy: The Beat­girls, from left, Caro­line McLaugh­lin, An­drea San­ders and Kali Kopae.

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