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 Post subject: Bounce
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2002 11:16 pm 
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Feature in The Scotsman of this street dance production that comes to London in August.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>If they ever remake the classic Edward G Robinson gangster movie Little Caesar, only one guy could play the title role of the ruthlessly ambitious mobster. Like the late, great movie star he’s vertically challenged - just 61 inches tall - and he, too, packs so much energy into his stocky, muscular frame that he could probably power the National Grid for a fortnight. <BR><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=717102002&rware=PBVBPOFJRZJW&CQ_CUR_DOCUMENT=3" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: Bounce
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2002 2:06 am 
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Review in the Evening Standard.

Quote:
Bounce is directed by Anthony van Laast, a choreographer who has been a stalwart of many of Andrew Lloyd Webber's shows; Lez Brotherston, the designer, has created sets for the National Theatre and Glyndebourne - not exactly street, either one. In addition, Bounce is originally a Swedish production, although it keeps that fact fairly well hidden, as street cred values LA over Stockholm any day.

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 Post subject: Re: Bounce
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2002 11:37 pm 
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Review in the FT.

Quote:
If the young are still on holiday, the Wells is the place for them during the next fortnight. Rap. A splendid Scratch DJ. Breaking, Boogaloo (which is wicked!), Popping, New Skool and Locking, all are on offer - and if this is Serbo-Croat to you, ask the tots. They will, as we used to say, Go Ape. The show, to be brief, is Bounce, a mish-mash of street dance (which is hugely enjoyable, rewarding, alive) and some dimmer fragments of "artistic" dancing, which pad the entertainment out to its 80-minutes-without-an-interval length. What keeps the mixture on the boil is the sense of fun and buzzing energy which marks every performer. Backgrounds range from the Finnish National Ballet School to street-dancing in Cairo. Clothes are of the shirt, ultra-baggy pants and trainers fashion (topped, often, by a handkerchief or knitted cap) that shout "today". (Or perhaps "last week - and dead!" to really chic offspring). Technique - and there is real and searching technique on offer - is slick, often virtuoso. And there is a skilful setting of skeletal stairs, ramp, mad platforms - which is something of a give-away about the show's seeming innocence - from the ever-resourceful and imaginative Lez Brotherston.

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 Post subject: Re: Bounce
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2002 10:46 pm 
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Review in The Times.

Quote:
IF YOU aren’t comfortable in a clubbing milieu, Bounce is going to hit you as a raucous and extremely loud blast from a foreign territory. On the other hand, if MTV is already part of your daily life then you’ve seen and heard this all before.
Billing itself as “the Streetdance Sensation”, this is a West End musical devoid of its storyline. The show is a mélange of hip-hop, jive, break, popping, locking, boogaloo, tap and swing, presided over by a rapping DJ who wouldn’t be out of place on Blue Peter. Every number is short, sharp, and designed for those with attention-deficit disorder. All the items are full-front open throttle. There is no arc, no build, no curve, no overall shape to guide us along.

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And in The Independent.

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Even if it were a lousy show (which it isn't), I would have to admire Bounce for the audience it is bringing to Sadler's Wells. Lots and lots of youngsters; plenty of ordinary families, mum and dad with the children; and notably more black faces than usual in London theatres. This lively, straightforward production is actually doing at Sadler's Wells what Matthew Bourne's pretentious Play without Words was meant to do at the Lyttelton.

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<small>[ 09-04-2002, 00:49: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Bounce
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 1:55 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
"Bounce"
Sadler's Wells, 5th September 2002

I enjoy a lot of dance and one friend said to me after I’d described a dire evening of modern dance, “Well if you didn’t like it Stuart, then we know it must have been bad!” Often I take delight in productions based on folk or popular dance and a few weeks ago I found myself defending the post-Flatley “Riverdance” to some sceptical East European modern dance folk.

So I find myself wondering why “Bounce” left me so cold. The show does have points in its favour: there is much polished ensemble break dancing from the amiable cast; a variety of dance styles; some strong talents in the artistic team, including Anthony van Laast and Lez Brotherston and it has received positive reviews from Clement Crisp and John Percival, perhaps impressed with the synchronised corps de ballet work.

There is a lot of dance and I was tempted to say “energy”. But rather the show has a high work rate, rather like the England football teams of the past who after losing 3-0 to the brilliant skills of Brazil or Argentina would be praised by their Manager for their “work rate”.

The programme notes tell us a lot about those involved and there is a handy guide to the various dance styles on display. What they don’t do is give us any clues as to its aims and for me “Bounce” lacks a heart to bring it to life. Whereas the best staged tango shows celebrate the passion of the performers for their dance style and love, “Bounce” seems to lack an analogous focus.

The slickness of the ensemble dance is counter-productive and seems to sanitise the energy of the form. Whereas the break-dancers of Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu are excused class because they have to stay up late in the clubs learning new steps, I would guess that most of the cast of “Bounce” will be tucked up in bed at a sensible hour and ready for class at 10.30 the next morning.

There are exceptions and Lil’ Cesar throws himself into some hectic spins and improbable balances and Martine Muncaster has a jerky, delivery that enables her to project real energy when she gets the chance to dance solo.

The attempts at humour with spoof 70’s and Kung-Fu left me very cold and the experiments in using the break steps in different ways also failed. An elegaic section was just plain dull and a belly-dance/hip-hop fusion performed by gorgeous girls left your correspondent unmoved.

As I said earlier a number of the national critics have enjoyed "Bounce", but as you’ve probably guessed by now I can’t recommend it. If you haven’t seen staged break dance yet, my advice is to wait for the edgy fire of Renee Harris and his villainous crew to return to London.

<small>[ 09-05-2002, 23:58: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Bounce
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 2:43 pm 
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That is a shame Stuart - especially as some of the papers have reported that it is attracting a different audience for dance. Did you find that the case on the night you went?

May I ask where you were sitting - I have found depending on my seat I have often been left cold to a production at Sadlers Wells. For example I couldn't take to Stomp there and I'm sure part of the reason was because I needed to be closer to the action - I think probably with any of these more street dance productions perhaps a more intimate venue works better. I am sure this would not be the only reason you were turned off Bounce and me Stomp but does it contribute to the effect?


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 Post subject: Re: Bounce
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 9:08 pm 
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Yes, there was a different and young audience and that was good to see. But whereas with "Rome and Jewels" I was pleased that this new audience had seen some exceptional dance in a serious and ground-breaking art work, I had little sense that there was any stretching of the audience here.

I was about a third of the way back in the stalls, which meant that I was in touch with the stage. However, I do know what you mean and isolation from the stage is something I often experience in the ROH's horseshoe geometry.

Oh well! You can't win 'em all.

<small>[ 09-05-2002, 23:10: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Bounce
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 12:03 am 
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"Bounce" gains another fan.

Sadler's Wells
By AC Grayling for Online Review London


All art started in the streets, and the newest recruit to the vocabulary of dance and movement has arrived from there too, in the form of break dancing, boogaloo, popping, locking, swing and tap – in short, the whole "hip-hop" dance ethos. It is vigorous, athletic, demotic, and democratic, needing only a driving beat and a flat-enough few square inches of anything on which to spin on your head, leap into a hand-stand, or contort about until the audience is sure all the dancers will get twisted gut. That is Bounce, and it is a pleasure to see.

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 Post subject: Re: Bounce
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 7:33 am 
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I've moved this review and consideration of the dance form by Thea from another forum:

WATCHING FORM AND CONTENT

By THEA NERISSA BARNES

I saw Bounce in August at Sadlers Wells and November at Wimbledon Theatre. Before this I have seen Rennie Harris’ Puremovement jam in New York’s Central Park and their production “Rome and Jewels” here in London. I have also seen Jonzi D’s “Us Must Trust Us” performed by Phoenix in 2001 and each rebirth of “Aeroplane Man”, Benji Reed’s poignant full body gesticulations that set his standard of body lock and body popping, Kwesi Johnson’s Kompani Malakhi, Robert Hylton Urban Classicism and other creative individuals that shape my perspective and expectations of hip-hop. I left the performance of Bounce reflecting on the progression which all these artists are pushing hip-hop. To be simplistic, it boils down to a binary: form or content, prophet or pusher, delivering a message or selling a product. Every dance presents choices and these choices are the result of both taste and necessity. Each observation of a performance reveals a cultural/political dimension and situates. The Bounce presentation poses alternative choices. These choices present an altered cultural approach and different bodily narratives. Following is a description of that alteration for present and future reflection but more likely a comparison of today’s approaches to re-invention.

I see hip hop as more than scratching records and lighting quick rhymes, double time bouncing steps that drop into swaggered walks, spinning on your head and police lights. Whether poignant or gangster rap, prostitution or delivering a message, hip-hop is about craft and creativity. Hip-hop is an art practice about synthesizing and invention. The effort is on discovering another dimension. Hip-hop is more than mimetic manipulations that dissolve into revolving door movement expressions. As jazz has its dimensions of improvisation, within hip-hop you either improvise within one vocabulary or you push your way out of one vocabulary to mesh into a new one; you seek to redefine, to make new. This is not to say that one creative process is better than the other for both have their place in this global dance community we practice in today. In this landscape no one owns an idea once it goes public and ideas owe nothing to heritage, ethnicity, or politics. Eventually all ideas get synthesized or regurgitated then redefined.

I write of the transliteration of hip-hop in Bounce that offers an ensemble element and an extra bodily narrative that is female. The hip-hop style in Bounce is slick and clean where the guys and girls move as an ensemble; all are neutered for this group action that is so tight there’s slight indication of individual expression. Spacial arrangement re-shapes performance skill confining moves that if not under control would do bodily harm. Each kick the same height, staccato punches the same distance from the chest, all ripples an exact degree, flick heads, quick looks, slides and drops to floor the same inflection. Few of these dancers may have been inspired in the street but all have shaped their craft in the studio. They are veterans of performing arts schools like Brit Performing Arts and Technology College, London Studio Centre, and Urdang. They rehearse or teach class at Pineapple or choreograph for videos, youth groups or trade shows. Only two, DJ Hazze and Hatim Kamel have acquired their craft from the street. The other performers may have had introductions in the streets but their skills were honed in the studio. No process to theatricalise idiosyncratic cultural tendencies here. Theatre is the culture that this rendition of hip-hop stems from. Bounce is also directed and it is this that speaks of its presentation, a transformation of art practice removed and redefined to suit a single vision. Streetdance, the midstream label for a genre of movement where hip-hop can be listed, is the dance community’s rough diamond. To demonstrate its lineage DJ Hazze raps a brief history lesson and within the presentation skits of lindy hop, a Cab Calaway zoo suited jazz number, and 70’s cliché are snapped out but these ensemble numbers are superficial. In this presentation, the diamond is buffed but not split, the presentation a simple entertainment. In Bounce the propensity of the form to transform or transcend is corralled and bridled. I can fathom the performers had input in the creation of Bounce because the program reads “devised and choreographed” by the company. But the director’s refinement for the international stage is a thorough process and curtails opposition. What is left out in this transfer from street to studio, from studio to stage, from male to female? Hip-hop, lindy hop or maleness portrayed in a zoo suit, displays an attitude; a bodily narrative that speaks of endurance in an often hostile environment. Before hip-hop became commodity, movement was defence. Movement was a warning or demonstration of strength becoming an opportunity to transcend, synthesize or empathise. The emphasis was on de-flat the opposition and/or re-create because the status quo was not bearable. There is a strong “I am” and “I exist” more so than “look at me I can do this”. To move was an opportunity to face a metaphorical enemy head on; an enemy that sought to destroy the substance that made a person who she or he is. To move was the chance for metamorphoses and to change the odds. So to theatricalise is an opportunity, an extension of the propensity of movement to turn things around. In Bounce the result is a crossover that sidesteps cultures and mixes up sensibilities. What is gained is precision, what is lost is the inner stuff that makes hip-hop special in the first place. Bounce is good and its presentation will stand as another adaptation of what us stalwarts recognise as the real thing. For most though, Bounce will become the accepted norm. This norm though is a fluffed parody, its consummation a quick drink downed easy that only wets the lips of those who want more than 2 or 3 moving visuals of selected events in the history of the last and possibly next millennium’s dance phenomenon book ended with clean dance numbers.

The essentials of hip-hop aesthetic are deejaying, break-dancing, emceeing and graffiti. Bounce has this but it is about form rather than content. There is nothing wrong in this just a matter of choice. When the girls took the stage body pop and lock shifted to body waves, hip swings and spinal swerves and although still retaining some of the dynamics of the opening and closing dance numbers this dimension oozed female sexual ness. Supported with a lyrical-like feel in the music this female ness was tamed and slithered as opposed to the breast bone popping with leg antics I have seen other female hip hop women do. These girls also did not have the opportunity to show what else each could do individually. Their improvised solos at the end wavered between slick or stilted, some being even timid and lacked the dare-factor “THIS IS ME!” “GIT TO THIS!!” or even “---- YOU!” element that is a survival trait, an indicative root of hip hop’s origins from the street. This is where Bounce let me down because improvisation is an important ingredient for discovering something different in the movement, in “you”. Improvisation is supposed to be spontaneous and contain a prerequisite amount of overt confidence not self-consciousness. Improvisation emphasises is on stupefying or besting and this goes pass proving mastery of a set movement phrase. When the guys took the stage only the usual was on offer leading me to think this presentation was the result of rigorous rehearsal or issues of safety being the target not pushing the form.

What was I expecting I had to ask myself? I remember rapping and break dance of the 70’s, the physical ness so characteristic of the form. This genre was and still is inspiring because one has to wonder at the eagerness to transform, to take what is truly yours, your legs arms torso and head, and do those magical things. I retain a visual that I savour because its representation of transformation was so complete. I saw Rennie Harris perform a solo entitled “Endangered Species”. In this solo, Harris slipped, locked, popped, and ticked silhouetted in a round pool of red light. One had to ask herself was he human or cartoon. Like Benji Reed this ironic caricature come comic gave tragedy in his tick lock moonwalk that ended with his dreadlocks stealing the final move but not the intended meaning. With the rap, both physical and verbal, the dance detailed a life view with horrific consequences. Harris’ form and content divined the too frequent and useless death of African American male youths through gang warfare, robbery, being in the wrong place at the wrong time or just losing the battle of survival in an often times harsh and dismissive society. Harris delivered a message just as Jonzi D does in Aeroplane Man. In Aeroplane Man, Jonzi on a journey finds a mirrored image of self that contains a fair share of enlightenment at the end of his travels. In this work the women mirror or contrast several dimensions of Jonzi’s charater complete with several dimensions of female ness, sexual ness being only one. These women also demonstrated a mastery of several movement specialities from hip-hop, contemporary dance and South African dance. They spoke in different dialects and their improvisation was honest and a marvel to watch. Harris’ “Rome and Jewels” was captivating because of the inspired revision of the Shakespeare’s Romeo with the portrayal of an imaginary Juliet planted in the mind’s of both the character Rome and the audience. The shaping of content paralleled the manipulation of movement vocabulary that incorporated ensemble moves that did not remove individual ness and improvisations that pushed the potential aerodynamic possibilities of the form passed my greatest expectations.
Today’s hip-hop is an amalgamation of ethnics, genders and social and economic agendas. Choices cost the artists and the form. My observation on this occasion is Bounce satisfies economic agendas where theatre must be profit not prodigy. DJ Hazze contribution gave Bounce its integrity, each one of his solos a testimony of his expertise in the craft. Hazze’s ticking solo incorporating popping and wave work will remain in my mind’s eye as an excellent example of what it is to stupefy an audience. The Bounce presentation of November reveals a more seasoned cast since I saw them in August. They are beginning to acquire some of the traits I find inspiring in hip-hop. Still though the music has more a sense of history or content than the performance delivered by the dancers. One number begins with the dancers lying on the floor and builds to standing only to mimic death aided by the sound of gunshots. A lone figure is left at the end of this number performing a move that spirals from and into the floor with a long reach around the back with one arm. I am touched by this dancer’s indication but not his intention for somehow his bodily narrative has yet to express the inner landscape I believe he seeks to portray. I suspect in time he will though. I do not put anything pass a dancer who knows what is required and has that goal in mind. I also know in the end it will be down to the directors who set the goals to be obtained. Their input will dictate the quality of performance in the presentations of Bounce and Bounce’s re-presentation of hip-hop.

<small>[ 11-26-2002, 08:34: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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