City, Country, Park

Choreographers From Several Cultures Brighten the Summer

The Wednesday-afternoon Union Square performances (music, readings, and dance) put on by Summer in the Square through August 20 have a funky ease, no matter how polished the show that fans, passersby, picnickers, and wandering tots may be watching. Part of the charm of KR3TS, the hip-hop group directed by Violeta Galagarza, is that its young performers are skilled and disciplined without being the least bit slick. Galagarza speaks from the heart between numbers about positive attitude and joy in life, and tells us that we too—however young, however old—can do this dancing. Her two-year-old, Noah, gets the mic to chirp the group's motto and acronym, "Keep rising to the top."

A smart number, like the opening Get Ready, shows how clever and busy the hip-hop body can be, given some solid choreography. This group is less about individual, show-off B-boying (although that happens) than about enthusiastic ensemble precision from which individuals come out to shine. These dancers change your view of their bodies all the time—watch these elbows, see that leg twist, here comes a turn, there goes an arm ripple—and all this rides springy, dug-in foot rhythms that never quit. A fellow named Ali sings as well as dances. One skinny man is as wily as an eel. One very sharp boy is only eight. Two-year-old Noah has some of the moves down, almost; the big guys work around him or give him gentle shoves.

Heart murmur: Matthew Dibble and Lynda sing in a Tharp duet
photo: Janet P. Levitt
Heart murmur: Matthew Dibble and Lynda sing in a Tharp duet


Twyla Tharp Dance
Joyce Theater
Through August 9

Vincent Mantsoe
Jacob's Pillow
Becket, Massachusetts
July 17 through 20

Union Square Park
July 30

Watching salsa, mambo, popping, locking, a little male-female flirting, a lot of good-natured showing off, and vibrant dancing—it's a healthy way to spend the cocktail hour.

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