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
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
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
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
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
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
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.