Tuesday, May 12, 2015

STAGE REVIEW: Soul Street Dance Company — Melbourne, FL (5.7.15)

Soul Street
Dance Company
King Center / Melbourne, FL 

Kickin' and breakin' 
lockin', flippin', poppin'
and droppin'  I had
such a blast last week
at The King Center that
I nearly slipped a disc!

The Maxwell C. King Center is a world-class performing arts facility with a longstanding commitment to culture, community and kids. And as a fervent supporter of the arts, a dedicated parent and the oldest "kid" in town, I value, appreciate and enjoy its Theatre for Youth program. Overseen by Director, Karen Wilson, the program has been entertaining and educating (us) young people here on Florida's Space Coast since my son was in diapers. And this year's 20th Anniversary season went out recently with a high-energy BANG!

The joint was jumpin' on Thursday morning, May 7th as 1,000+ students from elementary schools throughout Brevard County converged on The King Center for the much-anticipated performance by the Houston-based Soul Street Dance Company. Comprised of seasoned professional dancers, athletes and instructors, the four-man troupe lit the place up in short order. In fact, I've attended Van Halen concerts at which the crowd lacked the enthusiasm of these young fans.

Garcia, Ramirez, Hicks and Williams
greeting students at the private after-
show dance and fitness class.
Dressed in matching red Cool J-style warm-up pants and black T-s with eye-catching white Soul Street logos emblazoned across the front, Javier Garcia, Roy Ramirez, Cedric Hicks and Rock Williams captured (and held) the crowd's complete attention throughout the 60-minute show. Incorporating aspects of modern street moves and traditional dance techniques with a dash of martial arts spice, the live experience was both entertaining and educational. However, I'm not sure how many of the other kids caught on to the latter — they were simply having FUN  learning!

From start to finish, Soul Street Dance Company
connected with kids successfully  combining
hip hop entertainment with physical education.
Following the show, Garcia, Ramirez, Hicks and Williams held an authentic street-style dance class for a group of lucky students from local Sea Park Elementary. Promoting and encouraging physical education, the up-close-and-personal session kicked off with a series of warm-up exercises. As a parent, the private session was impressive. As a kid, it was fun, educational — and memorable. FYI, I was the only "kid" in the class who was familiar with the term, "poppin'" — just sayin'.

Congratulations to the students from
Sea Park Elementary on being selected
for the after-show dance experience.
And therein lies the continued value and importance of the King Center's Theatre for Youth program presenting quality productions that combine a fun factor with an education factor and will resonate with students. And from School House Rock to Lady Bug: Action Hero to Soul Street Dance, the 2014-2015 season accomplished that objective famously. NOTE TO SELF: Reserve my tickets for next season, ASAP!

-Christopher Long
(May 2015)


Soul Street
Dance Company

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