Review of New Victory Theater’s  Rennie Harris: Funkedified

by Waverly W., 9 years old, and Mom, 49 years old!
The Mom here!   Wave and I were feeling down and in a bit of a funk after cancelling our weekend away due to a rainy weather forecast that tricked us. It never rained! All’s well that ends well, though, because once again, New Victory Theater has got an amazing show for both kids and adults to enjoy. So we hopped on the (soul) train to get Funkedified.  It was exciting, mesmerizing, inspiring, and yes, FUN.
Waverly here! I am always happy to check out a new show at New Victory Theater, and this one was so awesome! As usual, even before the show, there were fun things to do downstairs.  This time we learned some cool dance moves! My favorite was the Muscle Man, yet there were many more, like Double Lock, Single Lock, and Double Point. It was fun getting ready to see these moves – and way more – right before the show. It really got us in the mood for what was ahead!

We found our way to our awesome seats (Mom here – every seat at New Victory Theater is an awesome seat, and I will always mention how beautiful this theater is!) and I noticed that kids were already dancing before the show even started!  The stage had a guitar, drums, and other musical instruments. My mom told me that it was going to be live music and I was surprised and excited.  The stage was also kind of smoky and that made it look and feel mysterious. Suddenly, the lights dimmed and a dancer with a cool red outfit and a gold chain came out. Everything was in slow motion and was really cool. My mom and I were taking our notes but couldn’t look away from the stage so we can barely read what we wrote right now! Then there were lots of dancers, dancing fast, in perfect unison, and also dancing rrrreeeeaaaallly ssssllloooowwwly, and sometimes they looked like they were being controlled, like marionette puppets – I have never seen anything like that!

Photo by J.Harris, courtesy of New Victory Theater

It all made me feel really good inside to watch, and I thought about trying it myself but knew I would trip if I tried! The dancers were very flexible and I was amazed (Mom here, so was I!).  There was a whole bunch of dancers (consisting of two amazingly talented Dance Companies called Rennie Harris Puremovement and The Hood Lockers, both from Philadelphia) and they all would come and go, getting lots of chances to show off their moves. One of my favorite parts was when three dancers stood on the stage and threw an imaginary beat at each other.  It was so cool to watch them “catch” the beat and then move like crazy with it, then throw it to another dancer and watch what happened next.  And that was only one cool part of like a hundred awesome parts of a totally awesome show that you really have to see for yourself! If you think these pictures are amazing, just wait until you see it live! Especially with the live music from their band!  With saxophones, drums and guitar all right there in front of you playing live while these amazing dancers take you on a musical journey, this show is a treat for your eyes, ears, and whole body!

Photo by Brian Mengini, courtesy of New Victory Theater

I loved the part when the drummer (Doron Lev) introduced all the dancers separately and their names came up on the screen, and they had a few minutes to really show off what they could do! I also liked when the band got involved with the audience, and asked us to clap and scream…what they didn’t ask us to do was have fun – that happened automatically!  This show made me feel happy and I was inspired to dance my heart out! I think it will inspire other kids to use their imagination and to be free to dance their feelings out. 

Back to Mom! Although the dancing was mind-blowing, this was way more than dance. A large screen projected multimedia images, while we heard Rennie Harris’ voice tell his story and the story of  the evolution of dance.  It is truly a unique and mesmerizing show – where else can you see backflips, headstands, breakdancing, splits, and so much more, all while listening to an awesome live band and “a sincere view of the essence and spirit of hip hop?” Nowhere but New Victory Theater  – so shake off those blues, get out of that funk, and go get Funkedified, like we did. Now through June 10th only, so hurry up! You don’t want to miss this….

Free your mind, and your body will follow…
-George Clinton

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