Monday, October 26, 2009

Spotlight On: Stylize Crew

We're bringing back the Spotlight On features for this week, focusing on individual crews each day with some insights. This time, we're looking at international crews that have graced the stages in the U.S. and who have been making an impression on the LA scene. Today, our spotlight is on Stylize Crew from Switzerland. They had a double standing ovation during the second half of the 10th Anniversary Culture Shock showcase this past Saturday, Oct 24 at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. (Photo above is from their entry on the showcase website.)

You can see a video of their performance at the UDS Most Wanted competition here:

Wow. That's all one can say after seeing Stylize perform at this showcase. They left the biggest impression of any team that performed in the second half. And why you might ask? Well, first of all, they had an entertaining fusion of tap and bboying that had the crowd on their feet. One of their routines in the middle of their performance involved a tap dancer providing the beat and motivating the movements of accompanying bboys on stage. It was as an inspiring juxtaposition of the two styles. They also had one member who mixed contemporary dance with his bboying. You could hear all the ladies in the audience going wild. As a group, these bboys executed their choreography well and choose moves that were technically difficult enough to be impressive when done in sync as a team. But it was their creative choices in fusing other dance styles that won over the audience.

Also, Stylize is adept at pacing their performance. They allow us to step into their world. And it can become an emotional rollercoaster. Currently, it seems that several hip hop choreo teams in southern California have loud wall-to-wall music from beginning to end in their performances. That leaves no room for the quiet moments to seduce an audience. Stylize knows how to bring in the crowd by creating high energy moments mixed with quieter ones that let us reflect before taking us on another creative turn. Their tap and bboying routine effectively used quiet moments to set up each section. And their contemplative opening and closing, while using an onstage box with their crew name on it, drew us in while setting themselves apart from the other teams. It's nice to see a team that doesn't need to be in your face and over the top all the time during a performance.

Perhaps being from another culture informs their sensibilities as well as their aesthetic tastes. Whatever their influences may be, Stylize Crew displayed a well-rounded performance that embraced carefully paced staging, crowd-pleasing moments, and daring creativity in their willing to fuse different movement ideas. Here's hoping that we see more from them on the world stage in the future.

1 comment:

  1. True true. I couldn't have put it better. Stylize got such a positive response by the end, we DEMANDED they come back out for a bow. And with the time crunch on the program, no one was coming out for bows. We cheered, screamed, got chaotic for 5 full minutes until the showcase producers got the message: nuh uh. We want to show those artists some love. Bring em out. And they basked in it.