Sunday, March 3, 2024

Dance Review: Pop, Robot, & Groove, The Groovaloos at The Joyce Theater

Groovaloo photo by Leonard Xü "Freestyle is the art of self discovery. Breaking away from imitating to embrace the fear of creativity"….  This is my favorite quote from a touching and impressive evening with the Groovaloos at The Joyce Theatre here in New York City.  The Groovaloos pair acting with hip-hop as they share a themed story of the making of the group.  Their 28-section story depicts a freestyle session called “Groove Night,” where a group of dancers show up as individuals, and leave as …The Groovaloos.  Being a dancer, I am personally moved by their story and, yes, even I am impressed by their crazy tricks!

One of my favorite sections, Once Upon a Time, led by Lindsey "OUTTHERE" Blaufarb, mimics a circular assembly line as dancers representing different robots move around the line and manipulate her.  We see a lot of "roboting" and mannequin in hip-hop, as it is a derivative of styles that came out of poppin’; I particularly enjoy this section for it cleverly mixes this style with a thematic presentation.  OUTTHERE just "kills" her isolations with such exciting intricacies in the choreography…  She’s amazing!  Kudos also go out to stand-out, John “JROCK” Nelson, who delivers some of the sickest robotic moves in the business.  Holla!

Only the FIERCE Dancers Apply...  Join iDANZ Today! Lunch Break takes place when one of the dancers in the story is faced with finding a job, and facing the realities of the obstacles standing in the way of his dance career.  The dancer/actors manipulate boxes around, throwing and spinning them until the “boss” comes in (played comically divine by Richard "STEELO" Vazquez)…  causing them to quickly stop dancing and get back to work.  The actors do a hilarious job!  Whoever said dancers can’t act?  Finally, the boss joins in and a "breakin’ fest" begins.  Hot!

Another scene, entitled The Audition captures “a dancer audition” on-the-nose …and often when everybody laughs, I think to myself, "They don’t even know the half of it!”  The characters at the audition are a "girly girl" or "strip-hop" dancer, a musical theatre or jazz dancer ridiculed for being at a hip hop audition, and a girl who hits the movement too hard… a hilarious realistic touch!  Mistakes are even choreographed into each dancer’s act, a small detail that probably is unnoticed to the untrained eye!

Other stand-outs to this production is Julie "LADY JULES" Urich, who is one of the illest b-girls on the scene, and Daniel “CLOUD” Campos.  Lady Jules’ skills are really incredible; no doubt, she is strong and really has that "power freestyle" to hit her moves head-to- head to even to the best b-boy on the block.  She is so good that I would have loved to see her even more featured in the show.  Cloud (one of the leads in the show), quite simply, is the "The Truth."  His skills are MAJOR.  He flips, then hits,… goes from smooth, a slide, a turn, a jump tour, then a freeze without blinking.  In other scenes, he has a brilliant ability to put "presence" into the contemplative, more silent moments opening the audience to connect with his story with sincerity.  When Cloud dances, there is a glow literally around his body that excites the audience no matter what he does.  Only a true artist has that glow.  He’s a gift to the hip hop/freestyle world.

Groovaloo photo by Leonard XüAmongst all the dancers, one of the most genuine and inspiring dancers to watch drop his grooves is Steven "Boogieman" Stanton.  He moves like butta and takes his time. His hits are nothing less than crystal clarity and definitely his presence and style show a link to old school hip hop in its purest form.  I do have to commend Steven "Boogieman" Stanton for rockin’ the entire show with a walking cane to support his leg trauma from a spinal cord injury!  Yes, the entire show!  That’s commitment, ya’ll… That is enough to teach all of us dancers to shut up and stop complaining!

It’s no surprise that these dancers have worked professionally in L.A., as they dominate the balance between entertaining and playing characters.  Although the show is very dynamic, I would have liked to see more originality and risk in the thematic ways that the story is told.  For Hip Hop Dance to break into the world of touring conceptual shows, more depth and range of aesthetic and perception needs to be coupled with those neck-breaking head-spins.  Can anyone say back flips landing on the elbows?  (Ouch!) Ivan Velez (aka Flipz) even flips off the back balcony – at least 8 feet high! 

All in all, if you want to see illest, most wicked skills of some of the best freestyle b-girls and b-boys on the planet, go see the Groovaloos.  Groovaloo is hot show, and an excellent step forward in hip hop and break dancing on the world stage.

Groovaloo runs December 1, 2009 through January 3, 2010 at Union Square Theatre, New York City.

CLICK HERE & CONNECT with the Members of the iDANZ Critix Corner!iDANZ Critix Corner
Official Dance Review by JoiLynn
Editorial Contributions by Candice Rox and Sheena DiMatteo
Performance: Groovaloo
Venue: The Joyce Theater  New York City
Date: Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

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One Response to “Dance Review: Pop, Robot, & Groove, The Groovaloos at The Joyce Theater”
  1. Dhanesh says:

    I LOVE THIS CLIP!!! I was totally dnnaicg right along with them in front of my computer. It was like an unrehearsed flash mob; the incredible dancers on stage, the awesome audience, I was drawn in, and a connection was made. I know other fans will do/have done the same thing as me. See what dnnaicg does to people? It truly connects them. Thanks once again LTO.

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