Keeping it gangsta w/ Rhythmic Blue’s ‘Cut’

In Hollywood, actors try to sell themselves as triple threats: singing, dancing and acting. While Rhythmic Blue does not sing, they certainly show Hollywood what it means to dance and act in their Spring Show.

In “Director’s Cut,” RB is back in action performs at the Off-Broadway Theater. The theme for Yale’s premier hip-hop and contemporary dance group is “A Night at the Movies” with many of the dance numbers inspired by music and fashions right from the big screen. While there is still plenty of hip-hop to go around, the performance notably illustrates the diversity of music and dance varieties displayed by some of the best dancers at Yale.

The show begins in the African savannah with appropriately dressed and scantily clad dancers to match. Alluding to the Eddie Murphy movie “Coming to America,” RB displays their powerful athletic prowess as they dance in unison to the tribal beat — fitting for an African prince like Murphy. Typifying the show, the next scene takes the viewer directly into another world of high fashion and glamour on the “Red Carpet,” almost like popping another movie into the DVD player.

Appropriate for a show called “Director’s Cut,” there is plenty of acting and role play to accompany each dance. The most intricate of these plots, during “Keeping It Gangster,” features lines from the Denzel movie “American Gangster” played at the beginning and end of the performance, which shows two female gangsters machine-gunning their male counterparts to death.

While fun, games and intrigue abound, the RB show also features a number of emotional and intimate numbers with a modern twist that could rival any ballet. The best among these is Vernon-James Riley ’08 dancing to “Kissing You (Still in Love)” by Beyonce, which combines a superior display of coordination with a soulful feel for the music.

The highlight of the show is Misty Wright’s choreography of “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from the musical and movie “Hairspray.” In spite of the pressure of performing an already well-known number, the RB pulls it off and then some with Wright making Amanda Bynes look like she had two left feet in the movie version. RB also similarly — and flawlessly — takes on another Broadway remake with the delectable jailhouse confessions scene from “Chicago,” with precision and sexiness rivaling any production of the show.

At this point, some in the audience might be wondering where is all the hip-hop dancing? RB satisfies these desires and more with Mustafa Hammond’s ’08 straight-up off-the-hook solo and the crowd pleasing “House Party” dance, alluding to the 1990 movie starring Kid N’ Play and Robin Harris. One can not be sure where RB found these clothes, but neon green, yellow and blue never looked so good on the dance floor. The energy of the group dance infiltrates the crowd making you feel like, well, you’re at a house party in South Central L.A.

Inspired by “You Got Served,” the men of RB display their street influences as they bust moves, pop the hizzle and [insert own hip hop catchphrase here] in a number directed by Jeff Manley, which also introduces something only describable as the “circle worm.”

With dance lessons and contests included in the show for the audience, the RB Spring Show will get the audience moving beyond toe-tapping in the aisles and continue that flow well after it ends. The performances gain strength over the 105-minute show, so be patient at the beginning. The worst that can be said about “Director’s Cut” is that the diversity of numbers sometimes works against the show, since the best numbers often end too suddenly. Overall, though, this is a must-see for any Yalie who has ever watched a movie and wished they could dance.

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