They add precision and grace to the Top 40, ‘flip some hot ass,’ and cast more than a few sultry looks out at the audience. But more than any of that, Rhythmic Blue has fun. And riotous, infectious fun (almost better than dancing yourself) is just what one is treated to at this semester’s show, “Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop.”
Like any performance, this one has its undeniable standouts, but the nature of the ensemble is such that every performer is given his or her moment. Most of the dances include at least 10 performers, and all of them are very meticulously set to particularly catchy songs. The first number, “Flipside/Ass on Fire,” is a dance-off of sorts, in which Chris Webb ’04 and Marcello Mullings ’04 — two undeniable standouts in their own right — each leads a pack of gyrating RB women. Eventually the two gangs mix, pairing off with each other for some mutual seduction and a truly energetic beginning to what is a uniformly excellent show.
Next up is a slyly intelligent interpretation of Mya’s “My Love is Like Wo,” conceived by Cameron Shaw ’04. Slinking across the stage are some of Rhythmic Blue’s best dancers, including Shaw herself, who scorches the audience with eyes full of either blood or lust — maybe both. She moves with both precision and abandon, making her movements as vital as the dance she has choreographed. Shaw has included suspenders from the song’s music video — suspenders worn best by the group’s most intriguing poptart, a not-so-naive Lauren Curtis ’05. The dance also confidently includes visual references to “Chicago,” with statuesque black silhouettes against a smoldering red background and sliding steps echoing the fadeout of the music.
After this smoky burlesque, the audience is transported by choreographer and dancer Marcello Mullings to what can best be described as a one of those discotheques in your French textbook — only the music is German and incredibly peppy. The grinning acrobatics of all of the dancers, the voice of Kate Ryan and Mullings’ luminous and magnetic personality make this dance a real pleasure. But the break from the sensuality of the previous dance is not fated to last for long. Jen Kessel ’04 has choreographed Mis-teeq’s “Scandalous” to follow Mullings’ onstage party.
And it is quite scandalous indeed. The audience has, by this time, become weary of the use of throbbing silhouettes, but as the lights come on and a stageful of women begins to grind the air, that is a criticism that is soon forgotten. Also in this dance is the first appearance of one of the evening’s most memorable performers, Krystle Woods ’05. Not only a remarkable dancer, Woods performs with sizzling eyes and movements just as languorous as they are controlled.
Mullings returns with a nice take on Jordan Knight’s brassy “Give It To You,” perfect for all of his long-limbed leaping and bedroom eyes. Better yet, 11 perfectly synchronized dancers surround him. The brilliant athleticism of “Miss Independent,” choreographed by Michael Apuzzo ’05, follows with more leaping and an airborne split. After one more camouflage-filled, surprisingly sensual number led by Webb — whose remarkable grace is revealed as effort only when he sweats — the first half is over.
The ensemble returns with seven more delightful dances, two of the most striking of which are the Fugees’ “Ready or Not,” choreographed by Tory Smith ’05 and Trista Miller ’04, and Pink’s “Real Good Time,” by Elliot Greenberger ’05 and Miller. Each dance heeds its music with a most careful ear. In “Ready or Not,” the precision of the steps mixed with their initial slowness and growing speed perfectly mirrors the melancholy, yet menacing, song. Smith’s glowing presence and perfect control over every step she takes really shine in this one — in other words, she does do that voodoo. Miller’s choreography returns again with a new partner in “Real Good Time,” in which the Rhythmic Blue dancers turn into a particularly adorable bag of Skittles. Almost retro, almost junior high, and almost “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the dancers wear day-glo vests and bound ecstatically across the stage. Greenberger acts as much as he dances — his silver vest is the least eye-catching thing about his performance.
No dance is dull, no dance seems under-rehearsed, and though not all are mentioned here, every dancer is praiseworthy.
A real pleasure to see, “Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop” lives up to its name.
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