Non-stop dancing heats up cold night

 

Hip Hop Be Bop Doo Wop

Asante Children’s Theatre

Indiana History Center

Through March 16

A young, highly energetic, passionate company is taking the ever-evolving Asante Children’s Theatre in new, exciting directions. These are consummate performers with a positive attitude and a worldview that moves their original song lyrics and music from the personal into the community.

Moves is the operative word for a program asserting its presence, Hip Hop Be Bop Doo Wop, with an opening and closing Kwanza Choir rendition of “We Been Here.” Billed a “Celebration of Dance, Music and Spoken Word,” the theme of inclusion is established by Bryona Johnson’s original “Musical Gumbo”   “We Brought Something for Everyone.”

The March 6 program was a shorter version of the March 7-16 run, and with no printed program it was a little hard to note who was performing and the name of the numbers, but there was sufficient evidence to prove this is a strong showcase of the past quarter century of moves and sentiments growing out of the hip-hop sound and break-dancing.

For those not familiar with the distinctions between hip-hop, bebop and doowop, original descriptions precede the sections featuring each style. In writing their original songs and monologues, the members of the company show their ability to capture the subtle distinctions in the styles as one grew out of the other.

With an abundance of show stoppers, delightfully choreographed by Mijiza Soyini and Shawn Cowherd, it might seem unfair to highlight one, yet “Rain Dance” could easily become a signature number for Asante because of its humor and ensemble precision punctuated by eye-blink virtuosity by soloists.  

The vocalists display extraordinary control for their youth. While performers will rotate, March 6 Curtis Maxey Jr. showed a combination of talent, charisma and dedication. Kiersten Carroll’s monologue, “I’m Not Afraid Anymore,” captures what it all means. The entire company looks like being in the spotlight is as natural as breathing. Under Deborah Asante’s direction and Vincent Howard’s musical direction, they make working hard seem easy.

Tickets are $12 advance or $15 at the door. Call 317-635-7211, ext. 228 or log on to www.asantechildrenstheatre.org for reservations and information.

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