Arts & Culture

‘Hooligans’ pour raucous energy into imPulse show

Dance company’s annual show highlights enthuastic numbers, ranging from hip-hop remixes to pop

By
Contributing Writer
Friday, February 28, 2014

With strength and poise, the imPulse Dance Company takes the stage this week for their annual show in Alumnae Hall. Best known for work with hip-hop, the company incorporates elements of contemporary, jazz funk, salsa, dance hall and voguing into a dynamic evening of movement, music and gesture.

The show features collaborations with Static Noyze Dance Company from Boston and Dexter’s Lab from Providence, as well as Brown student groups Badmaash and  Attitude Dance Company. All of the pieces are student-choreographed except for two guest works.

The show begins energetically with a syncopated group number. Many of the pieces are set to remixes, the choreography of each piece seamlessly binding together the different textures and music samples. The selections range from large synchronized group movements to quieter moments and more intimate exchanges between small groups or duos. The dancers play with the directionality of motion and the physical tension of moving together and apart.

Using the stage’s space creatively, the performers engage their bodies in innovative ways. Hip-hop sequences spotlight the anatomy of motion, the concise execution intensifying the awareness of the body as an instrument.

Aside from its impressive talent and dedication, the group genuinely seems to enjoy what it does. The three co-directors of the group, Victor Ha ’15, Michelle Bailhe ’15 and Iris Pak ’15, have coordinated a raucous showcase of schoolyard funk. Indeed, the performance was inspired by the idea of “hooligans” and “cool kids on the block,” Ha said.

Some of the work is more abstract, while other pieces invite specific interpretations.  Bailhe said the group often focuses on adapting aspects of  pop culture into movement. “Senior Piece,” choreographed by Jenny Tsai ’14 and Tori Wilson ’14, for instance, refers to  the PowerPuff Girls and Harry Potter to illustrate the bonds between three of the company’s senior women.

The finale, “Greasy,” is a “hip hop version of ‘Grease,’” the musical, Bailhe said. Ha described the dance as a “big family moment.”

Both guest artists, Static Noyze Dance Company and Dexter’s Lab, are holding workshops this weekend after the shows. Bailhe said the opportunity to work with local companies gives the group an interesting and enjoyable way to engage with a community outside of Brown.

An engaging and original production, the imPulse show transcends the goofy. The performers clearly have a lot of fun, but the dancing is serious (t)werk.

 

ImPulse Dance Company performs today and tomorrow in Alumnae Hall at 7 p.m.

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