March 29, 2020
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Tutus aren’t quite right for your little ballerina? How about baseball caps and sneakers and a few kicks, jumps, turns and knee slides? Those are some of the components of the Decadancetheatre Company, an all-female hip-hop troupe slammin’ into town at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Maine Center for the Arts in Orono. Eight dancers from the U.S. and Japan prove that hip-hop isn’t just for boys. In particular, the group will offer the Maine premiere of “Decadancetheatre vs. The Firebird,” a 50-minute interpretation of Stravinsky’s classic ballet about a magical bird. Ballets Russes? Naw, it’s hip-hop juices when Stravinsky-meets-New York and gets fused through the sleek steps and mercury turns of these urban movers – not to mention guzzles of Red Bull Energy Drink. “You always see modern takes on Shakespeare and other classical texts,” said Deca founder and choreographer Jennifer Weber. “What would happen if you took a classical ballet and updated it? Our ‘Decadancetheatre vs. Firebird’ is our contemporary hip-hop interpretation of that. We take the language of hip-hop to tell non-hip-hop related shows.” Weber studied communications at the University of Pennsylvania, and because there was no dance program, she founded her own. And took her B-girl, popping, locking act to clubs in Philadelphia. After school, she moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., where she is now based. She also teaches her high-energy moves at Mount Holyoke College. The dance-theater company, she said, is about countering negative images of women in hip-hop. “We want to change that image by creating performances that are really strong,” said Weber. As a white girl in a predominantly black dance genre, Weber has had to prove her chops on the dance floor. “I definitely face that [criticism] at times,” she said. “Luckily, nobody has said anything to my face. But I do feel challenged: What does a white girl know about hip-hop? The best way to answer is to show you do know it.” For tickets, call 581-1755, or visit www.mainecenterforthearts.org.


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