ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
A CurtainUp Review
By Julia Furay
The Groovaloos, a hip-hop dance troupe, have recently become familiar to TV audiences through appearances on network shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Superstars of Dance. The troupe's s founder Bradley Rapier as well and director Danny Cistone have collaborated to bring the dancers's stories to life, so that we understand what they love about dancing, and what dance has done for each of them as individuals.
The stories are mostly told through voiceover as the cast members dance onstage. Although a few troupe members have come and gone since the show was developed, most of the dancers are telling his or her own life storoes. Shooz (Rapier) is a med student who'd rather be dancing, BoogieMan (Steven Stanton) discovers his love of choreography before getting shot, Al Star (Caity Lotz) is perfectionist who can't dance freestyle, Kid Rainen (Luis Rosado) has a strict Filipino father who forbids him to go into dance, LockN'Key (Keeley Kaukimoce) is a Texas Christian who never fit in at home, and so on.
The bios are a bit too vaguely written and clunky to be really moving — for example, we know Lady Jules (Julie Urich, an astounding breakdancer) has demons, but we never quite understand what they are or why they are the magnet drawing her to dance because of them. But no matter. You don't see Groovaloo for the stories. You see it for the dance. And boy, can these people dance! Their movements combine breakdancing, hip-hop, ballet and acrobatics. Nearly every performer gets a chance to shine here, and none disappoint.
The best pieces are those which use the fullest extent of the troupe's choreographic creativity. The dancers are amazing as they become herby-jerky robots or human subway turnstiles. While it's almost unfair to single out any one dancer, BoogieMan's twitchy rhythms and fantastic use of his cane do stand out even in this talented group.
The Groovaloos' movement and energy is well-suited to the show's nonstop soundtrack which consists of mostly original hip-hop music, although pop artists like Michael Jackson can occasionally be heard. Charlie Morrison's stark lighgting cleverly accentuates the graffiti-sprayed scenery by Toons One and Laura Fine Hawkes.
Groovaloo may not have as powerful a story line as a movie like Dirty Dancing or a musical like A Chorus Line or even 42nd Street, but like these famous paeans to dance, this energetic show glows with an unabashed love for dancing, an impressive display of physicality, and an inspirational invitation to live life to the fullest.