Sunday, February 2, 2014

Roving Pittsburgher Report - Hip Hop Dance Mashup is Smashup
A Review Compagnie Kafig’s Feb. 1st 2014 Performance

Hip Hop Dance Mashup is Smashup
A Review Compagnie Kafig’s Feb. 1st 2014 Performance

From: Roving Pittsburgher and
Written By: Stephanie Curtice | Feb. 02, 2014

(photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)

What do you get when you mix MMA moves and dancing? Or more specifically a dance mashup of Capoeira, Brazilian martial arts, with contemporary and hip hop dancing? An exhilarating and physical dance show by Compagnie Kafig. Choreographed by Mourad Merzouki of France, the 11 member male dance troupe had the packed house of the Byham Theater in aw all night, Feb. 1st.
Compagnie Kafig
(photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)

The first half of the show was called “Correira,” Portuguese for running. It was a fun exploration of movement about running here, there and every where. Alone, together. Fast and slow. In circles and in place. The show opened with three sets of feet running in the air and as the lights opened more join, others begin circling around fast. The chaos of groups coming and going grew into an amazing display of breaking, popping, locking, waacking, hip-hop, house, Capoeira, and acrobatics, all while running in some way.

The second half was called Agwa, and was a fun piece with tribal-like flare about the fluidity of water. It opened with two dancers navigating around 20 towers of clear plastic cups stacked 3 to 5 feet high, only one fell over. Then with the dashing of the other dancers across the stage they were all scattered. With the spot light on an amazing display of pop and lock dancing by one, the rest of the troupe crawled in the dark setting up the disheveled cups into 15 rows of 20 cups partially filled with water.
Compagnie Kafig
(photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)
The lights came up and the piece picked up the pace with a dancer doing flips and back handsprings across the stage never hitting a single glass. As the whole group joined in, not a single drop was spilled as they danced, flipped, and crawled around the stage. The glasses were gathered and water combined as part of the dance. Then after the humorous taunting of one dancer, they all appear in clear raincoats almost as if they were the cups. Continuing we saw yet another use of the cups with each dancer reappearing with a stack of 50 - 100 cups, manipulating it like a snake. As the intensity came to a head, literally with a guy breakdance spinning on his head, the glasses all flew into the air and showered down.

With a roaring crowd the troupe, reappeared with an encore of dance solos among the scattered cups. Critics waffle between how to label the dancing of Compagnie Kafig’s as contemporary dance or just street hip-hop. Here’s what I know…. I know I couldn’t do any of the moves they did and practically worked up a sweat just watching them. This show was the most captivating, high-intensity, and fun dance performance I have ever seen. It was a smash!

Upcoming Cultural Shows presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust:
Shen Yun Chinese Dancing | February 19th and 20th | Benedum Center
Soweto Gospel Choir | February 27th | Byham Theater
Celtic Nights | March 6 | Byham Theater

By: Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter

(c) 2014

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