Dance “review”: Compangie Käfig

Living in Boston these last months has felt a bit like an extended Christmas – new gifts spread out over time. My apartment is still more than 75% un-complete; each week, it seems, I buy some new piece of furniture, make a plan to pay it off, and begin to scheme over the next one (after the couch I move to dining room rugs and tables).

Thus it was with Companie Käfig, a hip-hop dance company that I was very excited to see when we booked them for my former company…in Arkansas. I was bummed I would miss them, until I noticed they were being presented locally by Celebrity Series.

I snapped up a couple of tickets within days of arriving in Boston (back in December) and waited. After some shenanigans with my tickets, I made my way to the Citi Schubert Theatre for some Sunday afternoon dance.

It was an afternoon of gifts; the gift of a new friend-of-a-friend who I have every intention of turning into my theater-dance-movies-art plus one. The gift of realizing that the Schubert was the theater, I think, where I saw Les Mis as a kid; it was much, much smaller than I remembered. And the gift of this fun, funky and delightful company.

Compangnie Kafig was founded by a French-Algerian. I don’t know why I always go into seeing French (or French-associated) things expecting high-falutin’ snootiness. Indeed, the last French piece of work I saw was in Paris, and it was a riot.

Anyway, Compagnie Käfig was founded in 1996, and I can’t seem to find their website, so here’s a link to their management’s page. The dancers are from Rio de Janeiro, they are all dudes, which, I have to admit, was bloody fantastic. I’d never seen an all male dance company before and the experience of so many lovely male bodies (hey, if you don’t appreciate that part of dance, why bother?) on stage together was wonderful. I also found that the lack of gender roles/balance made me focus more on the fun and athleticism and less on the sociology. Because yes, I think about weird stuff like that.

Compagnie 1

They performed two pieces; Running and Agwa, which were about what you’d expect them to be about. Running was quite funny; again, I was expecting some kind of commentary on politics or immigration and instead I got, well, guys running. And leaping and tumbling and grooving…yeah, it was fun. In Agwa, the stage at the start is full of towers of what looked like glasses, and as the dancers darted through, we all held our breath, waiting for the first one to tumble. Tumble it did, along with all of the others, and a glorious mess of plastic cups blanketed the stage for the rest of the piece. Who knew that plastic cups could be so pretty?

And the music was very, very cool, a mix of all types and styles, melding hip-hop with Latin flavors, vocals and instrumentals; I wish I could get the soundtrack.

Other, more focused writers (like this one in the Boston Globe) can explain more of the show; here’s a little YouTube clip if you’d like a taste.

But as with most dance, it is best to see it live, so if these guys are coming to a town near you…go. Bring your kids. They will love the energy and the hipness. Bring your friends; they will love the beauty and fun. Heck, bring your parents and grandparents, because they need to see some Brazilian hip-hop guys dancing with plastic cups. You won’t be disappointed.

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