Saturday, November 16, 2013

Making it funky: Rhythmic Circus in "Feet Don't Fail Me Now"

When you're Dancin' with the circus
No cloud in the sky can get ya
--from "Singin' in the Rain" in Feet Don't Fail Me Now!

Watch this year-old promo video (below) from Rhythmic Circus--not an actual circus, but an award-winning tap dance and music ensemble--and imagine everything you see and hear in this video now, one year later, cranked up in cleverness and intensity to a great degree. That ought to give you some idea of what's happening in Times Square at The New Victory Theater where the Minneapolis-based troupe has installed its masterpiece, Feet Don't Fail Me Now!, now through December 1.

I'm assuming you want to be entertained, because Rhythmic Circus is wildly entertaining in the very best blue-eyed-soul way (and I have no idea what color their eyes are, and I don't care). Hot dancing, hot music--you want brassy salsa? hard-pumping Southern rock? funk? R&B? beatbox?--they're selling it, if you're willing to be sold to, and if you aren't, don't buy. Good. That leaves plenty for the rest of us.

How did Ricci Milan (dancer/artistic director) and Nick Bowman (dancer/executive director) manage to pack so much content and value into a single hour? Don't know, but the set list gives these performers a chance to show off their amazing versatility. Not just really good tap dancing, but exciting dancing, period. And Aaron "Heatbox" Heaton's devilish ability to mimic nearly any musical instrument. And that band, Root City, rocking the house with a lead whose voice...well, forgive me, but I can only say it like this: Close your eyes and tell me if this isn't a brother singing...and gorgeously.

Here's more from 2012.

The New Victory curates its programs with families in mind, but you don't have to be a kid--or a parent with kids in tow--to get into this production. Just go, and when the Rhythm Circus crew invites you to get up off your chair and dance, just say, "Feet don't fail me now!"

Dancers: Ricci Milan, Nick Bowman, Galen HigginsKaleena Miller with Michael Keefe
Root City musicians: Alex Rossi (guitar, vocals), Aaron "Heatbox" Heaton (vocals, percussion), Cornell Blanchard (keys, vocals), Patrick Nelson (drums, tuba, vocals), Dan Ristrom (bass, vocals), Peter Vircks (saxophone), Aaron Wiener (trumpet).
Sound/Audio: Miles Hanson
Lighting: Mark Ruark

Feet Don't Fail Me Now! runs through December 1. For complete schedule and ticketing information, click here.

The New Victory Theater
209 West 42nd Street, Times Square, Manhattan

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