Sunday, April 06, 2008
There's really not a lot of ballet in B-Alive, a story (told in dance) of the love between a hip-hop youth and a prim and proper lass. But you won't hear anybody in the audience complaining: they're too busy vibrating in their seats as the b-boy Gorilla Crew breaks down the house. The plot is a little ridiculous, but then again, so are the moves, and B-Alive b-eats out shows like Jump! because it is willing to take itself seriously, backing up the tricks with actual emotion (as shown by the fifteen-minute free-style curtain-call/encore).
Not that the show isn't willing to fool around: the thuggish dancers, who have a more vibratory and harsher stomp to their rhythms (but still a fluidity all their own), are great comic relief, even as bad guys to the heroic dancers who just like to freestyle. And Ahn Byungkoo's direction gets pretty inspired at times, with a black-light battle in which our hero confronts comes into our distressed damsel's dream and fends off an army of glowing, sinuous, spider-like dancers. There are plenty of moments of simple cheese, too -- as with the pompous self-seriousness of the local record shop owner or the playful sternness of the whip-like ballet teacher. The choreography (from Han Sangmin, Kim Woosung, and Shin Ilho) always evens things out, and while there are a few numbers that could be pared down in the interests of specificity, the show only lasts about seventy minutes -- I say, if you've got it, flaunt it.