Hip-hop dance group Rhythmic Blue’s spring show, “Really Really Hott,” as a whole manages to clinch the “Hott” of their show title. Only minor tuning errors keep them from going over that edge to the “Really Really” zone.
The word that best describes “Really Really Hott” would be energy. Lighting Designer Tory Phillips ’05 lit the show with a variety of electric iMac colors, and the dancers sport bright, sparkly tops or bold red-and-black combinations. The dancers clearly throw all of their energy into the precise execution of the hip-hop moves. The show is an exuberant, visual treat to watch.
“I Like the Way You Move,” choreographed by Lauren Curtis ’05 and Chris Webb ’05, begins with a sexy group of six women workin’ it for the audience. Think Spice Girls grown up. A gaggle of “geeks” appear on the sidelines, gaping open-mouthed at the group of “Hott” dancers. As the song progresses, the geeks shed their nerdy exterior (along with a few layers of clothing), and the chemistry between the two groups heats up. The energy is almost tangible between the geeks and the girls when they pair off into grooving couples. At one point, the girls ditch the boys on the ground and exaggeratedly wipe off their hands in a gesture of “who needs boys” girlpower. By the end of the number, the guys are the ones to ditch the girls, walking offstage without so much as a backward glance. The girls lose their former energetic girl-power demeanor, looking longingly as the boys leave.
Was the choreographer making a statement about a sort of “revenge of the geeks”? There was part of me at the end that sought some resolution to this gender commentary, clearly showing the choreographer’s success in provoking thought and emotion through dance.
What made another number, “Shut Up,” work so well was that the piece was a holistic endeavor, acknowledging the song lyrics and incorporating interaction with the dancers’ clothing into the dance. Choreographed by Marcello Mullings ’04, the “shut up” attitude of the dancers, a single finger placed over the lips, and the sassy side-to-side bounce movements combined to create an overall effect that was highly engaging.
“Don’t Tease Me,” choreographed by Michael Apuzzo ’05 and Elizabeth Kennard ’07, proved that Rhythmic Blue could be just as smooth and cool as “Really Really Hott.” The dancers, dressed in classic all-black outfits, used the stage well multidimensionally. The piece blended hip-hop crispness with echoes of ballet grace.
There were times in the show when I felt ideas might have been carried one step further. To incorporate trash-can lids into a dance piece and yet to have only two percussive bangs with the lids seemed to be a crime. While moving and flipping the trash-can lids on an axis was interesting, I felt that more could have been done in terms of angling the lids, interacting with each other’s lids and using the potential for percussive noise to the utmost.
A salsa number featuring girls in hot-red tops might have created a sexier, more electrifying effect if they hadn’t spend the majority of the number dancing in place or in a V-formation. A call-and-response type technique, with half of the V dancing at a time, could have been more effective if each half had acknowledged the other or if there had been some horizontal movement to draw the two halves closer and closer together, building up an intensity of effect, instead of merely pairing off.
Despite a general need to fine tune crispness and synchronization of movement, what seems to matter more is that dancers genuinely appear to be having the time of their lives onstage. The energy between group members as they perform seems to be infectious, and it is clear that the group has put in many hours of hard work to conceive and create these complex numbers. Rhythmic Blue certainly delivers a performance packed with fun, energy and color.
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