What an unexpected, fantastic, exciting, spectacular, inspirational evening of invigorating hip hop dancing and unique story telling presented by the fourteen member Groovaloos at The Joyce Theater where the ushers wear shirts imprinted with “Get Close to Dance” and where you can still catch this incredible show through September 27th. In a word. Go.
You can’t get closer to dance than in the intimate Joyce Theater where you can witness the sheer brilliance of the originality of the choreography that does with Hip Hop what Michael Bennett did with A Chorus Line. This troupe is a family. A family of dancers dedicated to their art. Dedicated to dance. To freedom. To finding their voice thorough dance. “Life is a dance – so dance beautifully” speaks the narrator with some very beautiful and at times moving poetry by Charlie Schmidt as the dancers prove his point faultlessly.
You will be amazed at the physical dexterity of these dancers who come from very diverse backgrounds. As diverse as the audience was. An audience that was encouraged from the beginning to “make some noise – laugh, cry or scream” – An audience that was all too willing to do just that.
In a series of dance stories, based on the lives of the members of the Groovaloos we get to know the various reasons that brought all these people together – how they overcame obstacles, how they gave up careers, how they tried to fit in and how they try to inspire.
Conceived and created by Bradley Rapier and Danny Cistone who also directs with a precise and unique style – the dancers are simply amazing. Aided by the most wonderful lighting design since Passing Strange by Charlie Morrison and the multi tiered set by consultant Laura Fine Hawkes – which uses every bit of space to great effect – you will marvel at what your eyes will sometimes not believe they are seeing.
One of the dancers, Steven “BoogieMan” Stanton, in the course of the development of the show, was shot. Told he might never walk again let alone dance he was devastated. But there he is on stage, with a cane, dancing. One of the most moving stories recounts how he went from being shot to standing to walker to cane to performing again. If that is not inspirational than I don’t know what is. He is wonderful.
Other special segments include a ride on a subway and in an elevator and at a lunch break with orange boxes that is just super. With humor and pathos these dancers are simply brilliant. I applaud them all for following their dream and being real and honest and making us all want to get up on that stage and “free style”.