The advertisements for Danceworks’ show at the Off-Broadway Theater are almost too sexy to handle. Members of the troupe don costumes any Village People fanboy would love and pose sensually on ladders, fences and in libraries. This is a clear contradiction of what I knew about Danceworks: the company accepts all people and lets anyone choreograph.
But maybe these notions are not in opposition. “What’s Your Fantasy,” named for one of the sexist songs Ludacris ever recorded, was a bit like a high school dance show. The dancers are not trained, but they are enthusiastic and into the music. There were a lot of thrusts, humping the floor and some trippy flashing lights, but you know what? It was great.
Call it the layman’s dance show if you must, but Danceworks’ pieces have nothing to do with those stuffy lyrical dances choreographed to some esoteric song with no beat that are so grossly popular amongst serious-yet-not-professional dancers. Though amateurs at best, the dancers were great performers. Their smiles and obvious love of dancing made the show engaging. They lost themselves in the music and made me want to scream, “You go girls! You work that Beyonce.”
The music made it exceedingly easy to enjoy the performance. The dancers shook their thangs to lyricists like Gaga, Cyndi Lauper, Katy Perry and Britney, an array of songs that make you want to stand up and get down with them. The choreography was interesting, but not too advanced. It seemed as though the choreographers were conscious of the skill levels of the individual dancers so that they would not look foolish, yet capitalized on the individual strengths of the company members; some members could do flips, others splits and yet others could booty pop.
Each and every dance was short, featuring punchy, to the point choreography. There was never a song that was not rhythmically uninteresting or sleep-inducing. They were all obviously crowd-pleasers, leaving the audience wanting more.
The best display of skill in the show was the ballroom styling of Viktorija Aleksejeva ’14 and her partner Christopher Logan ’14. They moved together seamlessly and Alekseiva looked as if she could be a professional on “Dancing With the Stars.” They were mesmerizing together yet maintained the celebratory tone of the rest of the show.
The second act was even more dynamic than the first. The songs were better and featured sexier, “Kings and Queens of Toads” choreography. The numbers spanned a variety of decades beginning with a lap dance/communist Beatles tribute, and finishing off with a rendition of “She-Wolf” that would put Shakira’s music video to shame.
The last, and perhaps best, part of the show was the finale where every member of Danceworks danced on stage to the oh-so tingly Luda song. I had not noticed before, but Danceworks is gigantic. Each and every one of its members is performing just for fun, despite a lack of training that made me want to be friends with them, go up on stage and dance.
The show is a good time. There are a lot of opportunities to see some intriguing dance moves to try at Toads, hear some pump-up music and experience some very interesting light production. With a few friends, and a handle … on popular music, this show is a good way to start the weekend.