REVIEW: DNA After Dark Showcase at 9:30 Club

From the DC Dance Journalism Project

Review: DNA After Dark Showcase by Fierce Collabo Dance Company
by Christina Lindenmuth

Outside the 9:30 Club on August 28th, there was a crowd of people at the back door. Not just any people – they were dressed in high fashion street wear, sporting loose layers and edgy hairstyles. They were the dancers recruited to perform at the DNA After Dark “Unchained” Choreography Showcase. Once inside, I saw more dancers above me on the loft, counting, singing, and practicing. I talked to a few different dance groups, and all were overjoyed to be there and to share their beginnings with me. It got me excited to see their stories come to life on the stage.

The MCs Carlo and Lauren introduced the Fierce Collabo Dance Company, who hosted the event, and I quickly realized why it was called DNA “After Dark.” They were sitting in chairs wearing oversized men’s button up shirts, pouring water all over themselves and proving that sexy can come in all shapes and colors.

Another performance that stood out was by the Oasis Dance Company. They took the stage in graphic prints and sexy silhouettes, bringing together a fusion of hardcore hip-hop, dancehall, street jazz and majorette dance styles. At one point, dancers left the stage and there were two sensual duets – a man and a lady on stage right and two guys on stage left. The men did everything the straight couple did, which included grinding, body rolls and booty slaps! The crowd went wild. The Oasis Dance Company started 6-8 years ago as a safe haven for the homeless gay youth in the DMV area, giving people a place to sleep when their families turned them away. It has allowed them to perform locally and nationally at Pride events and competitions, while growing into a community of dancers and good friends.

They were followed by The Cool Kids, who covered the stage in poses and began with lip-sync. Their style had a slightly old school feel, bringing back the vibes from the late ‘90s–early 2000s, giving us sex appeal and amazing musicality. Their energy spilled over into the crowd and viewers chanted and cheered throughout their performance.

Another standout performance was that from Pretty Big Movement. Everything about them radiated passion and individuality. This ranged from their African printed jerseys (with each member’s nickname across the back), to their frequent formation changes, and their final moment where the ladies held hands while bowing together. Founded by Akira Armstrong, the Pretty Big Movement was created to give full-figured women a chance to do what they love when the industry wouldn’t. They’ve gotten quick publicity and have performed for various TV shows, campaigns, and award shows. We can expect to see a new side of these ladies in a variety showcase of monologues, singing, and poetry early next year.

Other highlights included new commercial hip hop choreography performed to throwback songs by the ladies of NateTion, a duet by George Marcos and Danielle Harris, and a solo with nostalgic cartoon theme songs by Steeltoe. There was also full out energy and symmetrical complex formations from the Code Red Project and the Akia Deyvon Experience. The show closed with the premier performance of the Bandits, a group made up of dancers from other DMV dance crews. They filled the stage with hype energy and silly facial expressions, which gave us a clear definition of what DNA After Dark stands for – the Distinct Nature of Artists.