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Thursday, January 24 , 2019, 3:52 am | Fair 42º


‘Break!’ Keeps Its Act Together

The Urban Funk Spectacular's high-energy dancing gets the Granada rockin'.

The grand old Granada Theatre, newly refurbished and dripping elegance, played host to poppers, rockers and breakers Friday night, and there wasn’t a dull moment.

A mostly young, close-to-full-house crowd enthusiastically greeted Break! The Urban Funk Spectacular. The young company from New York responded with a high-energy concert of brilliant break dancing and the sounds and music that go with it.

(Reviewer’s advisory: While I first saw a rap performance in the 1970s, I am in no way up on who’s who in the art, or what the various competitions and slang mean. I am indebted to the program notes from the Granada Theatre, which point out that break dancing is a continuously evolving art form.)

Some years ago, when CB radio lingo crossed the line into everyday language, much was made of America’s spirited adaptation to the new. Break dancing is another example of our culture’s ceaseless innovation and drive.

The musicians were DJ Razor Ramon (Ramon Gilmore), Peter Rabbit (drummer David Chapman) and Kenny “The Human Orchestra” Muhammad, who uses mouth noises and body movement to convey his art. And the dancers — oh, the dancers — never stopped moving as the list of numbers flew by. Part one began with Hip Hop Essence, the young dancers flying, rolling, jerking and seething to the rap music.

Doc (Antoine Judkins) is a veteran of appearances with, among others, Britney Spears, and seems to have survived the experience intact. Zen One (Ron Wood) adds martial arts moves to his choreography, adding even more zip to the proceedings.

Lockin’ Q (Kumiko Naito) is a very tiny, vivacious young Japanese girl whose innovative style has won her several international hip-hop competitions. She captured the Bronx Battle Zone two years in a row.

Other performers were James P. “Cricket” Colter, Jumping Bean (Deshawn Sanders), Peace (Brandon Albright) and Aquaboogy (Otoneil Vasquez). They are all masters of the break, pop, spin, slide and leap. Mention was made during one of their numbers of James Brown, whose memorable stage moves are part of hip hop’s ancestry.

The overall effect of Break, the Urban Funk Spectacular was a kind of wish-fulfillment, out-of-body experience. Watching those kids is like when you wanted to fly and you tied on a bath-towel cape and jumped off the porch. No bones were broken, and everybody made it out alive and energized.

It’s unlikely that break-dancing classes will come to the local YMCA, but who knows? It sure looks like fun.

Steve Love was billed as founder and chief of creation for the show, and Val Brochard was director of production.

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