Thursday, August 04, 2005

Are we dorks, or are we cool?

So, tonight I saw something called "Party Girl" at the Hothouse. It was mildly perplexing, because it has something to do with this club scene that I know nothing about. I sat next to the clubs reporter from New City, and I kept trying to read her notes, to find out if what I was looking at was cool or not. Like, are they making references to weird after-hours party practices? What is that thing with the plunger?

Plunger aside, it's not like there were any great mysteries, or anything deep going on. We had a number of characters- drunk chicas, b-boys, janitors, queer police officers with a penchant for ballet, and a soundtrack of what I'm pretty sure is house music. They kicked around, acting silly, dancing in groups, and rubbing their crotches. Some of the characters were pretty great- like the convict in the prison outfit who would dance his heart out, then stand stock still and glare at the audience with unbridled hate. But most were not funny enough. And the sexual/violent overtones of a lot of the pieces went too far for a fluffy dance show- like the hazing/gang initiation of a pig-tailed wannabee, or the notable abuses of power by a lesbian cop. A really promising bit, where a cute audience member got a lap-dance from about 10 gorgeous, muscular looking men, went south when it moved away from its performative aspect and became mostly about fondling the volunteer.

Thing being, the kids didn't really have the chops. They were clearly having a lot of fun, but I'd say 80% of them had no snap. No placement. There's probably a technical term for it, but I mean that special quality in a dancer that causes onlookers to think "Hey! She really just put her foot there, just now, into space. I noticed it." They also kept trying things that were just a smidge beyond them technically.

Now, in a fun-fun dance show, I don't require technical ability. Hell. I love the Belmont Burlesque, even though the Bombshells can just about do a two-step. But they've got wit! And they make the hoochie-coo culture they're drawing from really appealing. And that's the thing. I could get drunk, I guess, and enjoy this show. I even enjoyed it sober. Perhaps it's that I don't know jack about club culture. But the party girls didn't make me want to learn.


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