As I walk in New York City's DTW to see olive Dance Theatre's Ken Swift Solos, I'm handed fortune cookies and wonder why, but, as I open one, I see the fortunes say, "Why do you break?" and "What inspires you?" ...Hmmmm.
The show opens with video footage of hip hop dance dignitary Ken Swift, of course, and each dancer is posed on a wooden panel, which the dancers manipulate throughout the show, creating interesting and clever scenery and scenarios. What an excellent usage of props, as I almost forget that the only thing on the stage is the dancers and the panels...
The show progresses into the dancers explaining to the audience how it felt when they first saw Ken Swift dance. At this time, a very interesting part of the show emerges as the dancers view footage of Swift along with the audience, and then stop the tape to execute signature moves or steps that Swift originated. There are very informative parts of the show that I appreciated as it isn't a show that "pimps" the art of break dancing as most mainstream and many other shows do. It's way more than that... It's an exceptional, comprehensive work that isn't necessarily about the obvious tricks that anyone can identify, but about the art of break dancing and its many components.
At one point, it is stated "to be a good b-boy or b-girl, you gotta have footwork." I want to yell out "THANK YOU!" because there are so many intricacies and nuances to break that so often, unfortunately, these skills get overlooked for power moves. The dancers swivel, roll, dove, spun, and sort of tease the audience because they obviously are powerhouses. Their individual personalities and passions are also interwoven into the show as they explain to the audience what inspires them to break.
Ken Swift Solos represents not only a show honoring a legend but, one that informs about and honors an art form.
Photography by Yi-Chun Wu
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