Writing a review while avoiding cliches and analogies using the word ‘flawless’ is going to prove difficult. Let’s face it, when was the last time you ever saw them miss a beat?
Chase the Dream at the Royal Festival Hall is Flawless’ Christmas special for the Southbank Centre for three nights only before they begin their nationwide 60 date tour in 2011.
Considering there has already been an entire season of Flawless shows, this review feels a little dated, but here’s our view with the TooMuchFlavour touch…
Those who are used to TV and big screen Flawless are in for a shock. Recent press interviews with the group’s leader, Marlon, emphasise the boys aren’t one trick ponies. If you’re in street dance, you knew that already, but in terms of the wider general public it can be a little difficult to get the message across.
Chase the Dream is a show of two halves: the first half is a full length piece of hip hop theatre, while the second half of the show might be a bit more familiar to those who have only watched the boys on TV.
Chase the Dream
Finally, questions the online Code Red routine leaves you dancing has been answered! Without giving anything away, the idea and the use of the homeless person (played by swing dancers to hide the multiple costume changes) in the first half is for us to chase our dreams (not the competition!) in order to get where we want to be.
Dreams play an integral role, transporting the audience to a world inhabited by krumping overlord, Thriller zombies, and a corridor of mirrors reflecting a person’s inner self. Most probably choreographed by Nathan Gordon, the contemporary piece is one of the most powerful numbers of the show asking “if you’re not yourself, who are you?”
Unfortunately few people know (or at least knew on the night) that some of Flawless are classically trained, meaning the more serious numbers weren’t understood. Even the people who wrote the press release promised ballet in the line up – this was contemporary?
The second part of the show is more upbeat and tailored for audience thrills – the Flawless audiences will recognise from television – giving the audience a chance to influence the outcome of the show. A Michael Jackson tribute and a slick Matrix-inspired sequence (it’s previewed on the Flawless: Live Street Dance – Access All Areas DVD) are two of the outcomes, as well as the opportunity to branch out into a little Lindy hopping and cheesy disco.
On the note of cheese, the outstanding thing about Flawless, aka, “the group that ditched their hoodies for haute couture” is they never, ever stop smiling when dancing, and it doesn’t take away from their credibility at all.
Flips and acrobatics are another thrill in the show. It’s not only that the flips were good (flips don’t make a good show: take note), it’s that they were technically perfect flips, landing at difficult angles – the type that require years of practice to get perfect.
Needless to say the choreography is on point, switching between styles seamlessly. All of the dancers are dynamic in every style, and you know a show has been choreographed well when you don’t notice how subtle formation changes are.
It’s good to finally see Flawless on the big stage in a varied and exciting show. A worry for me was Flawless might have taken the easy option of going for crowd pleasing numbers, but as solo dancers with years together learning to gel, performing on different stages before they reached this part of their career, they’re still fresh – and they’ve introduced thousands to the Bar Kay’s Freakshow.
The Flawless 2011 Chase the Dream tour starts on 4 February at the Lowry in Manchester, ending on 17 April. They will also be performing at Live Vibe at the Movies final in January
Leroy Dos Santo