It is so hard to describe the experience exactly in mere words.

They say the best writers can make words come alive and let the readers see what they see, what they think, what they feel.

But is it even remotely possible in this case?

How could you ever understand what we felt, how we felt?

You weren’t even there.

You didn’t feel the beat of the deafening music blasting from the sound system of the Esplanade theatre thumping on the tympanic membrane of your eardrum, threatening to burst it.

You didn’t see the smooth moves of the crew members, defying gravity, defying Newton all together. Bodies bent in ways you never thought a human body could without breaking any part.

You didn’t feel the energy of the crew radiating from the stage, penetrating everyone in the audience, through their skin, into their muscles and bloodstream. The sudden urge to jump off their seats and start grooving to the music.

You didn’t feel the adrenaline rushing in your bloodstream through your blood vessels. Your heart thumping. Your breath quickening. Your pupils dilating.

And that’s all because you didn’t catch the “B-Boyz & Ballerina” at the Esplanade.

What a shame. What a waste. What an incredible loss.

Because who knows when the Korean team would ever land on the shores of our tiny island ever again.

 

Well, I shall leave you alone to hang your head low in shame and regret…

 

…because I caught the performance last Saturday night, and in simple words, it was FREAKING AWESOME!!!

The Ballerina and her B-Boy

I didn’t take any photograph of the show because it was too good and thus too difficult to pry my eyes away from the stage to use my camera, which I did faithfully bring along though. However I did find many lovely images from the website of the crew which contributes to all the following images that I would post.

It was eighty minutes of exhilarating and jubilant fun and energy, and lighthearted humour scattered appropriately throughout the show. All amazingly accomplished without words, except for a few words thrown out now and then, like “ballet!” and “let’s party!”. Exaggerated movements and hilarious gestures contributed to the humour factor. It was seriously eighty minutes too short! It should have been two hours! But I guess that would risk having the crew members collapsing to the ground dehydrated and exhausted before the curtains even closed.

Well, now, they are toooo cute for me to want that.

“B-Boyz & Ballerina” is a new concept in performing arts, a non-verbal performance featuring breath-taking dance routines that unfolds the storyline, and it has drawn considerable attention internationally. The cast of the show is formed by members of the Gorilla Crew who are well known throughout the world due to their success in many world competitions. The Gorilla Crew is made up by two different crews, Able Crew and Brooklyn Monkeys, marked by their different styles. If I’m not wrong, the Able Crew mainly does breakdancing (ie the b-boys) while the Brooklyn Monkeys specialises in new-school hip-hop. The former plays the good guys in the show while the latter are the baddies, the villains.

The very adorable b-boys of Able Crew

who do insanely cool gravity-defying breakdance moves

again and again!

I can’t decide who I love more. I think I love them all! The b-boys were all so energetic and lovable, amusing the audience with adorable antics and performing heart-stopping freezes and power moves almost non-stop as if they never run out of energy. Every time they did a stunt-like move, everyone in the audience clapped and cheered. As for the villains, who were the rich boys in the show (rich = evil? LOL), it was amazing how obnoxious those cute Koreans managed to make themselves look with their loud hairstyles and gaudy attires (completed with bling-blings)! It was even more amazing how they managed to be obnoxious and likeable at the same time! When the music came on and they started dancing, everyone forgot that they were the baddies! Those guys were superb! Krump, popping, you name it, they had it. They are the Mount Everest of coolness.

The Brooklyn Monkeys

Putting the cute Korean boys aside, the performance was highly enjoyable and easy to understand. There were a total of four acts, out of which Act 3 (Mystery and Eternity) surprised me the most. The ballerina was confused by the new affection for the b-boy and his dance, and dreamt about demons tormenting her. The b-boys first came on stage as the first set of demons, all dressed in black pants (and nothing else! topless!! woot!!) and a glow-in-the-dark mask. One of them was in a long white robe with very long, billowing sleeves, complete with a white cape over his head and a white mask. Very intriguing freaky. It was a form of modern contemporary dance, but if you had looked carefully, even though the dancers were moving and crawling on the floor really slowly, they were actually breaking. It was BRILLIANT. I really don’t like and don’t get contemporary dance, but to hide hip-hop behind its curtains, that was just awe-inspiring for me.

The Brooklyn Monkeys were the second set of demons in an all black ensemble. They also did modern hip-hop in the contemporary style. Very cool. My only gripe was that they were having their tops on. However, children and timid girls like my girl friend might get all freaked out by this part of the show which did remind me of Ju-on. My friend looked like she was about to shriek any second. I didn’t dare to even speak to her. Any sudden movement and I think she would scream.

It was really cute at the end of the show when one of the dancers attempted to speak to the audience in English. He (one of the baddies) was adorable. He managed to start off with a “Thank you, Singapore” and “I, I, I…” before pausing for a really long time, and you could see his face crumbling as he struggled to find some other English phrase which he knew. He was so cute. Some people in the audience giggled. I was trying not to laugh at his futile attempt. His crew were already laughing madly. Then he remembered and said proudly, “I can’t speak English” with a strong Korean accent. Everyone in the audience roared with laughter. Then, god knows where he learnt it from but alas, boys will be boys, he said something along the line of “wanna come to the hotel with me?” that earned more laughter. I was holding my head in my hands and trying to stop my head from nodding. Hey, girls will be girls too. Small eyes, hot bods, easily my type. Throughout the rest of the ending part, I was randomly shouting “Hotel!” now and then which made Diz giggle like mad.

The Brooklyn Monkeys once again proved that bad boys are cool.

Overall, the entire performance put up by the Koreans was superb, nothing to complain about. They have managed to blend theatre and street-dancing, two seemingly different things, perfectly in a visually stunning way that is both artistic and entertaining. If there was anything that displeased me that night, it would be the stupid Sistic booking system. I don’t understand why Sistic won’t let us choose our own seats when we do have to pay an extra fee to Sistic. Instead the very smart system had to do its so-called best seat allocation, which didn’t turn out to be as ideal. Our seats were at the R row which actually wasn’t as bad as it seemed. We had a relatively close view of the stage. The thing is that the some five or six rows in front of ours were vacant! If no one had booked those seats, why didn’t Sistic give those to us? It was pretty maddening. I could have a closer view of those six packs and firm pecs! 

And did I say the Korean b-boys were cute? I did?

Another problem which I saw for myself once again, a problem which organisers themselves fear, is the Singaporean attitude. Singaporeans go into the theatre before the show starts, park our butts comfortably on the seats and there the butts stay (except during intermission but for this show, it was too short to have one) until the end of the show. During the performance, you could see that the dancers really wanted the audience to stand up and cheer on their feet. They were gesturing for us to get on our feet. I was like “hey they want us to stand up!”, but the typical Singaporeans thought the dancers wanted us to clap and so, clap they did.

I was fairly embarrassed. It was clear that everyone in the audience enjoyed the performance immensely. Everyone clapped and cheered loudly at every chance they could. But to stand up? Now, every Singaporean started to get shy. Why?? I really don’t understand. Are we that bad at expressing our emotions? The same goes for every single concert I’ve been to. Singaporeans don’t stand up and move to the beat until the encore. It’s so hard to get us to warm up that I swear the performers feel embarrassed sometimes. Why do we get all shy suddenly when the typical Singaporean won’t even blush as they push their way like barbarians into the MRT train before the passengers alight?

Nothing surprising when the first in the audience whom I spotted standing up were two lovely Caucasian ladies in the middle block at the front. I admit they looked awkward when everyone else still refused to stand up but I applaud their courage. I really wanted to stand up. I kept telling Diz that we should get on our feet, but there was this voice in my head that kept warning me otherwise. I swore it was Singaporean. It kept telling me how silly I would look standing up alone and how those sitting behind me would curse because I would be blocking their view.

Yes, yes, I am ashamed of myself, telling Singaporeans off when I was guilty of the same crime. But I did rush to get up at the end of the performance when all the dancers were on stage, randomly doing their thang on the stage that earned hoots and woots, while urging the audience to stand up once again. This time round, I could see people all the way at the front standing up so I got up immediately. Maybe it’s the Singaporean in me again. Kiasu-ness.   

I am soooo glad that I went for the show because there might never be a second chance. This is of course all thanks to SPH Foundation which brought the team to our shores before they continue with their tour to America, Japan, China and Spain. They should really continue to bring such different and entertaining performances to our own Esplanade, other than the usual modern contemporary stuff which I really doubt that the average Singaporean has an interest in. You don’t have to be a Picasso or Beethoven to inspire. Graffiti, street art, street dance, the whole hip-hop culture can invoke creativity in youths as well.  

Anyway here are some remarkable performances by:

Gorilla Crew:

They showed segments of this video at the start of the show. Everyone was truly impressed even before we saw the guys themselves.

Able Crew’s performance at BOTY 2007 Korea:

This is similar to Act 3 of the performance. You have to see for yourself. It’s really very cool.

 

WE WELCOME YOU BACK TO OUR SHORES ANYTIME, GORILLA CREW! YOU GUYS ARE DOPE!

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