Watching an individual who is completely engrossed in doing what they are most passionate about has got to be one of the coolest things that a person can experience. They have the drive in their eyes, determination on their face, and a slight hint of aggression to pull it off in the most incredible way conceivable. Their heart pounding in their chest, the sweat pouring down their face, the tunnel vision-like focus on the end result is all evidence of hard work, tears of frustration and the purpose to “nail it”. That, my friends is the true definition of Passion and that was ALL I saw on that stage at the Project: Full Out Dance Concert at McGlohea Theater at Sprint Square this Sunday.
The Dance District, home of some of the most talented dancers in NC, put on a dance concert this weekend in hopes to help raise money for a hearing aid for one of their main choreographers. The opening act, “DISTRICT7”, choreographed by Miss Dance District herself Ana Ogbueze, started the show in high energy that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the show. The trio with hands on their hips, facial expressions strong and hair swinging, marched decked out in their Army fatigues ready to serve up all of the attitude and sass you could handle, and just when you felt like you had enough, there was an unexpected split on the floor that sealed the deal…tonight was going to be full of surprises.
The “Ladies of #LadyHipHop”, also choreographed by Ana Ogbueze, were up next. The next set was a Beyoncé Mash-up giving you the types of moves that the Queen Bey herself would be proud of. The outfits were unique in black and red, bringing out each young lady’s personal “Sasha Fierce” style. With both amateur and professionals in the mix, the one thing that stood out the most was that each lady had their own type of vibe but it all seemed to work together as a group. The message of “we are woman”, celebrating the different body types, was clear with the front woman showing off her curves proudly. Diva moves in tow, each lady had their chance to show off what they could do. With the crowd cheering them on, everyone in the building was impressed with these Ladies of Hip Hop.
A true 80’s throwback, the “Saved by the Bell – The Full Out Years” set, choreographed by Lisa Wright, was a joy to watch. Everyone was decked out in bright neon and light colors, stone-washed jeans backwards hats and yes, even a fanny pack or two, staying true to the segments theme. Diverse with dancers of all ages and races came together with smiling faces and 80’s type dance moves. With so many young people in this dance group, I could appreciate the age appropriate dance moves to the more modern songs like “Anaconda” by Niki Minaj and “Good Kisser” by Usher. Everyone had their own time to shine complete with a mini dance battle reminiscent of the early days of hip hop clubs and dance videos. The music selection was made up of tunes that make it hard to keep your seat. I, like everyone else, found myself snapping my fingers and singing along with the music.
During the Intermission, Emcee Big Baby, kept the energy going with light hearted comedy that was truly funny. Again I appreciated the fact that he let the DJ know to play the edited version of songs by telling him there were kids in the audience, making the concert a family environment as well. The emcee started an impromptu dance off, giving a chance for some of the audience members to show off their dance moves, finding out that some of the talent was not only on the stage but in the audience as well. They KILLED it! I liked the way he kept the audience engaged with the show, asking everyone where they are from and encouraging applause for all of the ones participating in the dance off making sure that everyone got the praise they deserved.
As a surprise, the audience got a performance by Big Mike of Day 26. Mike was a double threat with a genuine talent for singing and dancing. Although he mostly did cover songs of Usher, the former Day 26 member still managed to shine on his own showcasing his single “Time Machine” and the forthcoming single “Cold.” During his performance he was joined by some of the Dance District dancers, who seemed to flow quite nicely with a famous singer. Possible careers as tour dancer are a shoe-in for those who were lucky enough to back up this talented R&B singer.
Getting back to the show, Love roller coaster choreographed by Allison Lilly, was a real treat. I especially enjoyed this segment, since the dancers were made up of real people who just love to dance and this was some of their first time on stage. I like to dance myself…no LOVE to dance. Since I am able to relate to this group of women, it was so exciting to see what the satisfaction and pleasure of seeing the success of 6 weeks of hard work and dedication looks like. These ladies slayed the stage giving their all and just having fun living out their dream of being able to perform in front of a room full of audience members cheering them on. Watching them was a privilege, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it inspired a few new dance member when dance class starts up again. Got any room for me too, Allison?
The “Super Human” choreographed by none other than D.A. White was very much a sight to see. Starting with just two dancers and gradually working up to the whole crew, this was another high energy segment. And by high energy, it was like everyone in the group took a shot of 5hour energy and needed to liberate it by dancing it out of their systems. And as a little side note, to the little guy in the dark grey hoodie with the hat, how they fit so much swag in one little body, I will never know. He absolutely stole the show in my opinion. To my understanding, the gentleman who choreographed the set is the recipient of the hearing aids…how inspiring. D.A. has so much talent and the fact that he is not willing to let the fact that he is deaf stop him from doing what he loves, makes “Super Human” more of a Motto then a title. He was in more than three (if I counted correctly) segments in this show, never stopping and never showing any sign of fatigue. I think that is beyond amazing!
Last but not least came The Big Bang choreographed by Alex White and Ana Ogbueze. Sending the show out on a positive vibe, everyone from all segments joined the stage in one late Horrah! Once again, everyone got their time to shine which seemed symbolic. Everyone should have their time to shine. A time where they get a chance to do something they truly love. No worries of the work week, the stress of deadlines, kids, relationships, bosses or bills, just let loose, give your all and put your whole heart into it and have a good time. As the show came to a close, one thing was evident on all the faces of all the individuals who had performed that evening…they danced their hearts out that night.
A job well done to all the dancers, choreographers, the Emcee, DJ and anyone else involved with last night’s experience. I had no expectation of what I was in for when I walked into that theater and took my seat, and to say that I was impressed would be an understatement. Never, ever, EVER stop dancing!
Reviewed by: Cerise Jackson of “Reesie’s Pieces of Advice”