Yale’s newest dance group, lives up to its name: they are hip, multi-talented and really know how to get their groove on.
The group’s first show, the aptly titled “Debut,” features dances in an eclectic mix of styles. Ballet, hip-hop, modern and tap are just some of the genres represented in this fast-paced, fun show.
Another aspect of the group, revealed in one of the quirky vignettes between dance numbers where members interact with the audience, is Groove’s outreach program. The group, in addition to performing, teaches movement and dance to New Haven students to inspire creativity and positive self-expression. Groove has the moves and a social conscience.
Putting a new twist on songs we have all heard before, the most impressive aspect of Groove proves to be their blend of spunk and substance. All of the dances are enhanced by the groups’ obvious delight at performing, and their enthusiasm is infectious.
Highlights include Jamice Oxely’s ’06 funky ballet-and-hip hop fusion number to rap hit “Rule” by Nas and an interpretive modern dance to the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Black Balloon” Lucinda Stamm ’04 has taken from her pre-Yale days and staged for Groove. Both show the group’s unique flair for combining traditional dance with modern attitude. A Rachmoninov Prelude in C minor provides the soundtrack for Artistic Director April Leslie’s ’03 rehearsal-inspired ballet. Immediately following is a hip-hop funk fest to Jay-Z’s “Peaches and Cream,” choreographed by Antoine Jumelle ’05. “Groove” shows its range and proves that yes, you can be classically hip.
The result is somewhere between the professional dance feel of “Center Stage” and the latest hood-rockin’ MTV video, a surprisingly exhilarating mix. If Lil’ Kim ever learned ballet or Andrew Lloyd Weber ever found his inner funk, they would probably join Groove.
The group also makes impressive use of simple costumes and the limited technical allowances of the Saybrook Space. Utilizing flashlights, swatches of fabric, and a mere handful of stage lights, they make low-budget look pretty darn fabulous. Or is that ghetto-fabulous? Either way, the group’s “Debut” is an eclectically creative achievement.
So, while Groove may lack the polish of experience, they definitely have the personality and heart to make up for it. One easily overlooks any minor mistakes and technical flaws because it is obvious they are having so damn much fun! You might even find yourself, as I did, grinning giddily and swaying to the beat of the music, just trying to get into the Groove.