Saturday, August 13, 2011

Studio 808 served it...

Studio 808 served it,

Worked it, put their thang down, flipped it and reversed it.  Today, I saw the best performance of the summer.  Studio 808 is one of a handful of talented dance studios/crews here in Hawai'i, and this past weekend, they showcased their show "enLITenment 101" at Leeward Community College Theatre.  My friend and I knew absolutely no one performing in the show (though I know the show's Assistant Director, a friend and former dancer for the studio I currently dance at), but we went to show our support to a fellow 808 studio/crew.

There's a whole bunch of positivity I gotta throw in their direction, it was that friggen unreal.  My friend and I went to Studio 808's matinee show, and from the very get go I was impressed with the studio's overall positivity.  We didn't get tickets in advance so we went to the theatre to get our tickets about an hour before the show started. 

When we got to the box office, we were greeted by whom I suspect were the parents of a couple of the performers who were selling the tickets for the show.  They kindly greeted us at the ticket window and was super patient as my friend and I were trying to make up our minds of where to sit.  When we purchased our tickets, they were super cool, and gave us a kind "Thank you for supporting us and enjoy the show."  I was super impressed with that.  Between my friend and I the tickets came out to $32, but I must say, it was worth every cent, and I'll explain more of that in this blog.

Shortly after, the doors opened and my friend and I walked in.  There were parents at the door who stamped our hands and handed out programs for the show.  Again we were greeted with very kind "Thank you's" and "Enjoy the show" which from the very start gave it a very welcoming feel.

So my friend and I were seated pretty much in the middle row in the middle area in the audience.  I read through the program to take up some time as we waited for the show to begin.  I read that there was a total of 30 numbers (not including the finale) and two, yup two, intermissions.  I thought that was quite an aggressive undertaking on Studio 808's part.

Then there was that moment that all audience show goers always anticipate...blackout, a sign that the show was going to begin.  The remix boomed in on the speakers, and low and behold it was an entire number dedicated to Dr. Seuss.  It was a clear giveaway that the theme of the show was all about storytelling.  It was a crew doing hip hop n street at its best doing Seuss' greats, like "Green Eggs and Ham", "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Green Fish" and "The Cat in the Hat" just to name a few.  From that killer opening on, I was hooked.

Studio 808 delivered it in every number from a musicality level.  It's one thing to know how to dance, but it's another thing to be able to do that and interpret musicality, or deliver the "feel" or "attitude" of a number, and Studio 808 did that to the maximus.  Through the musicality of the dancers and their ability to throw emotion to their audience, I totally got the vibe that they were trying to portray in each of their numbers, from comical and whimsical to serious and kick bootyous.  All of Studio 808's performers were able to deliver musicality, and by all I'm talking from the older dancers all the way down to the lil kids, can I get a witness in hea.

I also have to put it out there that even though there were 30 numbers to the show, it went by quickly, because between every number there was no more than a 3 second delay, and then boom, the next number quickly began, unreal.  From a staging point of view, for those of you who aren't familiar with that world, that's some serious precision that needs to take place.  With the stage crew, we're talking the sound and lighting peopz, the stage director(s), backstage support, along with the dancers all need to be on the same page, or else it won't work and can unfold to a disaster.  It's another layer to Studio 808's unreal performance.

I can honestly say that I was thoroughly impressed with every single number in Studio 808's show, there wasn't a number that I didn't like, fo realz.  There were a couple of numbers that full on stood out where I was seriously jaw dropped after the number was done.  On the top of my list was "Poetry" which was just plain friggen ridiculous.  Members from the Senior Street Company of Studio 808 did their "Poetry" number to not music, but to slam poetry, how crazy is that?  I thought that it was plain ridiculous that the dancers were able to "hear" music and dance in unison to poetry, that's just unreal.  The number took a stab at relationships and the turmoil that sometimes comes with it, I totally got it.

Another number that I liked was "Braille: A Book Without Words" friggen hot damn.  It was a futuristic dub-street number with dancers costumed in these purple and black space-looking wardrobes with blacked out see through blindfolds.  In true dub style, it was pretty much all beats n no lyrics (if I remember correctly) and the dancers hit every single beat with unreal precision and in yo face attitude.

One of my instructors for the studio that I dance for co-choreographed a Harry Potter number, which had the crew Gryffindor-ed in v-neck sweaters, white collared shirts, and ties.  The killer choreo came complete with actual magic and effects.

And one of my most memorable numbers, hands down was the story of the "Ugly Ducklings" which was performed by Studio 808's Heart and Soul dancers, a class created for students with special needs, and in my eyes, positivity that should be in all of our hearts.  The mix from what I can remember included TLC's "Unpretty" which reminds us that true beauty comes from within.  So as this was playing, the Heart and Soul Dancers were dressed up in white sweats (I think) with these tattered strips of brown fabric and these worn looking bike helmets.  Just as the story goes, there were other duck dancers dressed in yellow mocking and teasing these ugly duckling dancers (who were played by other dancers of Studio 808).  As this was happening during the number, I was thinking to myself that it was a representation of how people really do treat others cruelly just because they are different.

The mix transitioned into Lady Gaga's "Born This Way", and at that point the "swan parents" (who were played by whom I think were Studio 808 instructors) turned the ugly ducklings into swans, by removing the tattered fabric and exchanged the helmets with nicer baseball caps.  When this happened during the number, audience members screamed and clapped.  Man, it was an awesome number and I found myself trying to hold back the tears....deep breath...end scene.

After the show was over my friend went to talk story with a couple of the Studio 808 Board of Directors, who were her good friends.  I was re-introduced to them (I met them way back before) and they were super super friendly people.  My friend and I commended them on how awesome the performance was.  They were very humble with our praises and thanked us profusely for enjoying and coming to their show.

As we talked, I asked, "So what's next?" and one of the directors answered "Well, we'll take a little break, and during that time, we're going to be flying the choreographers to California to attend dance workshops, and get their creativity rejuvenated."  I thought it was hella cool that a dance studio takes care of their instructors like that.

Whew, quite the blog entry, but I felt the need to throw positivity to a dance studio that did an unreal job with their show.  So much props Studio 808, to the dancers, directors, instructors, parents, volunteers and sponsors for putting on a killer show.

For more 411 on Studio 808 and their wicked ways, check them out on FB at:

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