Berlin’s The Flying Steps Elevated The Art Of Breakdancing With Their Bach-Scored Performance At The Majestic Theatre This Weekend.
All photos by Karlo X. Ramos.
Looking around the crowd at the Majestic Theatre on Saturday night, I was most envious of the younger attendees filling the seats. Not just because my own youthfulness is fleeting — it most definitely is, and I don’t want to talk about it — but because I wish I’d seen something like what was going down on stage when I was still in my own formative years.
As for what that was exactly? In the simplest possible terms, it was a 75-minute dance performance that married break-dancing and ballet over the sounds of Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, itself performed with a blend of live piano, live harpsichord and piped-in electronic beats. Called “Flying Bach” and presented by Red Bull, the show featured the internationally renowned Berlin-based b-boy crew The Flying Steps trading moves with ballet dancer Anna Holmström in an often humor-spiked narrative throughout which some eight or so b-boys represented a group of students who were set to learn the more principled elements of dance, but couldn’t help themselves from adding some of their own hip-hop flavors to the mix whenever their teacher wasn’t looking.
For the older heads in the crowd, the show read like a celebration of one of hip-hop four main elements, but also something greater — a showcase dead-set on elevating break-dancing to legitimate art form, many thanks to the precise, repetitive motions that filled the gaps between the perhaps more-thrilling headspins and backflips that drew loud whoops of approval from the crowd.
That messaging seemed clear to anyone over the age of, say, 18. But to the many younger observers in the house — an audience that seemed likely to only grow with the show’s matinee offerings on Sunday and Monday — I imagine the line was less blurred. Without old age and societal prejudices jading their perspectives, I imagine there was little reason for the teens in the house to believe there was much different between the two dance disciplines being flashed on the Majestic Theatre stage. Both were fluid, both were agile and both were beautiful in their own right — and highlighting those similarities indeed seemed the show’s aim. To the youngest fans, Flying Bach must’ve simply looked like what it was at its core-est of cores — a sensational display of athleticism and dedication to a craft.
Appreciation of that at a young age is vital, and the younger generations in the house on Saturday seemed to see that clearly.
My generation needed Julia Stiles to learn that. Personally, I would’ve preferred the Flying Steps’ teachings.