Happened to see Dance 360 late last night as we were flipping channels, and then happened to go see Rize at the Parkway in Oakland tonite.
If you don't already know, Dance 360 is a daily half hour dance competition show where a few amateur dancers get to battle it out in front of a big circle of folks (360, get it?), with a live DJ in the background doing special scratches when it's time for them to go solo or 'head to head'. The crowd does an annoying chant each time the contestants have to switch up, and I have to say that, despite their obvious love of dancing, the competitors were just so-so dancers.
Now, if you really want to see some dancing--some real fire and virtuosity and movement innovation--I highly recommend going to see Rize. It's a documentary about some young (and not so young) Black folk in South Central LA who are part of the crazy hip-hop 'Clowning' and 'Krumping' dance phenomenon that is apparently all the rage. This stuff goes way beyond breakdancing and makes Brittney Spears look like a blonde smurf.
These fierce, committed dancers paint their faces, perform at kids' birthday parties, and battle each other in 'Krump sessions' and huge annual 'Battle Zones' (the latter actually held at the Great Western Forum--yes, the one that the Lakers play at), which give them a high-profile outlet for their creative urges, everyday anger and frustration at the oppression of their communities, and basically throw down some amazing moves. There are even some little kids who get in the mix: don't miss 'Little Mama' who gets down in more than one scene with some insane hip-poppin' moves that made my eyes go wide with half-wonder / half-confusion that someone so little can move so big.
So turn off UPN and forget that wanna-be, lukewarm shit that is Dance 360, and head down to your local movie theater to see Rize. It's the real thing.
Wall Street Journal: Thursday, 22 June 2017
9 hours ago