There is a growing population within the Yale community who have secretly tried and failed to learn Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” dance on more than one occasion. And for us, Rhythmic Blue’s newest show, “Lessons in Love,” is both a godsend and a sad reminder that we will never be able to move like that.
“Lessons in Love” is like “Step Up,” minus that movie’s abysmal acting. The show features the best of Yale’s hip-hop and contemporary dancers shaking and spinning to Kanye West and Britney Spears as they teach us that the most important kind of love is how we love ourselves. In the opening number, “FEDUP,” the ladies of Rhythmic Blue show the audience that strong women don’t need men (cue sassy snaps). The girl-likes-boy, girl-becomes-liberated-through-dance, girl-scorns-boy sequence becomes tired quickly in the show: Though independence is great, channeling notorious husband-beater Liza Minelli is not. But with Muata Langley’s perfectly timed solo piece, the show really starts to heat up. It almost seems as if the bass of Usher’s “Foreva Young” drives Langley’s body forward.
The diverse and intimate interludes (the shorter pieces between the longer dance sequences) of “Lessons in Love,” such as Langley’s solo, were a unique way for Rhythmic Blue to distinguish itself from other Yale dance groups. In “Losing Energy,” James Liggins ’11 and Grace Fisher ’11 portray the end of one of the RB members’ relationships. With the movement of their bodies, they are able to create a mini-play that is more personal and real than most dialogued performances. Langley returns, this time with Mustafa Hammond ’08, to treat the audience to a freestyle rap, dropping rhymes such as “Like Tupac’s shooter, love is hard to find.” I know nothing about rap, but anyone who can effortlessly spit out coherent and rhyming lines without stumbling is impressive to me.
One thing “Lessons in Love” could have used more of is gay. Considering the sexual orientation of “one in four, maybe more” of the Yale student body, you would think that could be reflected in at least one of the show’s 25 numbers. My companion and I spent the greater half of the performance quietly chanting “more Jonas Brothers, more gay!” to no avail. For all the sparkles and hip-hop and pizzazz the show possesses, there was a glaring lack of homosexuality.
Despite that one shortcoming, Rhythmic Blue’s spring show was brilliant. I was able to see all of my dance movie dreams lived out on stage, and my appreciation for Beyonce’s superhuman movements skyrocketed. “Lessons in Love” may not have taught me anything new about relationships, but it did teach me a few other things.
Lesson 1: Jamilah Prince-Stewart ’09 is more talented than you will ever be. Not only can she pop-lock-and-drop-it so hard that her pelvis looks like it could disconnect from her torso, but she can also pirouette with the best of the ballerinas.
Lesson 2: Rhythmic gymnastics is a lot cooler than that episode of Lizzie McGuire led me to believe. Lisa Wang ’12 can make a ribbon look like a skywriter and can dominate boys with a jump rope. Also, her body is made of Silly Putty. It’s the only explanation — real people can’t bend like that. Watch your back, Gumby.
Lesson 3: Mika’s “Grace Kelly” was meant to be used for hip-hop dancing, and it’s a sad fact for the entertainment industry that no one discovered this until now. You might think that the song would clash miserably with RB’s dancing, but trust me, it doesn’t.
“Lessons in Love” will be performed at the Off-Broadway Theater today and tomorrow at 7 and 9 p.m.