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Groovaloos have got the beat

Whatever your preconceptions may be regarding hip-hop and free-style

dancing, the Falcon Theatre’s “Groovaloo” is astonishingly executed

and entertainingly unbeatable.

For sheer unrestrained joy, it’s doubtful one could find 90

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minutes packed with more aerobically-charged punch than this

explanation as to why dancers must dance.

Conceived by Bradley “Shooz” Rapier and Danny Cistone, who doubles

as director, the entire company is credited for its choreography. And

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with performers sporting nicknames such as “Outthere,” “Lockn’key,”

“Flipz,” “Steelo” and “Ragdoll,” what’s not to like about a show that

tops itself with each subsequent number? What sets this production

apart is the insight given as to why each performer has come to this

place in their lives.

Charlie “Vzion” Schmidt serves as an ethereal narrator,

interacting with, commenting on and sometimes goading the dancers

into physically telling their stories while accompanied by taped

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voice-overs. In mirror image, two guys perform a whimsically charged

acrobatic competition divided by a rolling frame representing

reflections of each other.

Later on, five men take a “Lunch Break” from their factory jobs to

cut loose and blow off steam. Don’t let your guard down though. Just

when you are drawn into the fun, heavier subjects emerge.

In “A Father’s Footsteps,” Daniel “Cloud” Campos squeezes your

heart as he relates through his dexterity the terrors of a brutal

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childhood. Paternally disowned, Campos battles his demons and emerges

rejuvenated. Likewise, Julie “Lady Jules” Urich literally spins a

therapeutic release from a past that took her to the brink of suicide

in “Fear & Understanding.”

Finally, there is “The Circle.” Steven “Boogieman” Stanton’s near

death in a sidewalk shooting terrified his fellow company members but

drew them together as an even stronger, more cohesive unit. These

tales of personal growth instantly dispel the notion that this art

form is only associated with street thugs and foul-mouthed rap stars.

Lighting designer John D. Palmer’s efforts dance in this show as

well. Countless variations and combinations of illuminated effects

make for a barrage of visual stimulation.

Yael Pardess’ scenic design consisting of chrome-like platforms

encircles a center stage open area, providing a myriad of spaces for

movement.

Stacey Quinealty’s sound design is timed perfectly. One minor

quibble with volume levels, though -- at times, it was hard to hear

the important vocal commentaries over the music that was playing.

Ultimately, these back stories involve common emotions: fear,

love, the need for human companionship and belonging. Perhaps

narrator Schmidt put it best: “If you’re not you, no one can fill

that space.”

Or, you can base your decision to attend on my 8-year-old

daughter’s two thumbs-up recommendation. Upon seeing the cast’s

rubber-like flexibility she whispered, “They have no bones!”

* DINK O’NEAL of Burbank is an actor.


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