RB bring in birthday beats with bubble and bounce

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Rhythmic Blue has pulled out all the stops for their latest show. Titled “thRowBack,” the hip-hop and contemporary dance performance celebrates the group’s 20th anniversary. The stated purpose of the show is to celebrate RB’s past, present and future, which the group does through a wide range of musical selections, ranging from artists like Lupe Fiasco to the K-pop band Girls’ Generation.

The show opens with a medley inspired by wild house parties and the hip-hop duo Kid ’N Play. Appropriately titled “Jam,” the number sets the stage for the high-energy and festive nature of the entire event. Audience members are encouraged to shout out, or “pound,” if they’re enjoying what they’re seeing, and this show gives the audience lots to cheer about.

A few adjectives that came to mind during the performance: “fierce,” “fly,” “sassy.” The choreography is varied so that the show stays interesting while remaining consistent. Luckily, the performers’ energy also stays consistent throughout.

Several seductive numbers interspersed throughout the show, including a solo to Lady Gaga’s “The Fame” that makes use of a rope, a female-dominated dance to Katy Perry’s “Peacock” and another to Rihanna’s “S&M” involving handcuffs, are sure to be crowd-pleasers. It can’t be easy to maneuver in stilettos, but the dancers rise to the challenge and make it look natural and even easy. Don’t be fooled, however: You probably can’t dance like the members of RB, no matter what kind of shoes you’re wearing.

The second act’s opening number, titled “(The Real) Safety Dance,” is a medley of popular ’80s songs performed by dancers decked out in corresponding attire. Although audience members cannot relive their Safety Dance experiences themselves, they can do it vicariously through these dancers — the fun is palpable. To see just how ecstatic they are, sit in the front row: They’ll get up close and personal, at times seeming like they’re about to dance right on top of you. Men with Hats’ “Safety Dance” is not actually part of this routine, but it does feature several karaoke favorites.

Although the majority of the show consists of exciting, high-energy numbers, the show is not without its more serious moments. The second number of the show, “The Mannequins,” has the dancers wearing white masks, which serve to creep out and intimidate the audience as they perform mechanically in perfect sync with the music.

The slower numbers provide a nice respite from the show’s otherwise constant intensity. They do not bore the audience, but rather give them a chance to reflect and admire the skillful choreography presented throughout the entire show. In addition to the hip-hop and contemporary dance moves expected from RB, a few other styles of dance, such as pointe, find their way into a few of the routines.

Some of the more interesting numbers in the show are those that attempt to tell a story. The number “High Times,” a tribute to getting high, is appropriate for the show’s proximity to 4/20.

For its grand finale, the entire company presents a medley featuring hip-hop artists from Kurtis Blow to OutKast. The final number spans the history of RB’s 20-year run, tying together the past, present and future with both old-school and contemporary beats.

This show promises to be exciting and entertaining for all members of the audience, from those who have never attended an RB show to those who have been fans since 1991. Rhythmic Blue’s 20th anniversary spring show is one you won’t want to miss — make sure to arrive early, and be ready to pound.

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