The Comedy Dance Collective bring laughs to the world of ballet | Bleader

The Comedy Dance Collective bring laughs to the world of ballet

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Jean Bonavita and Sarah Barnhardt and their T. rex arms - TYLER DAVIS
  • Tyler Davis
  • Jean Bonavita and Sarah Barnhardt and their T. rex arms

Each member of the Comedy Dance Collective—aka the "CDC," which, as constant disclaimers caution, is not to be confused with the Centers for Disease Control—has a traumatic association with dance. And in videos shown between the troupe's numbers, the audience hears about them. Sheena Laird was forced by a dance teacher to choose between cookies and ballet at the age of eight; Michael Silver went onstage without pants on during his first-ever performance; and Jean Bonavita was picked on by instructors in dance classes for having "T. rex arms." Maybe that's why they all ditched the world of tutus and tights for comedy.


But now, putting their training to use, the Comedy Dance Collective incorporate traditional and contemporary choreography into their sketches. The dancing isn't always incredible, but the performers make up for it with their stage presence; Laird and Silver's over-the-top facial expressions made me forget to even look at their feet. That duo are particularly delightful in an opening scene in which they actually tango over who will pay the check at the end of the date.

The rest of the show goes on to feature a sketch about a dancing Hillary Clinton trying to be cool, a parody of "I Hope I Get It" from A Chorus Line, and a routine inspired by cell phones, with selfie sticks incorporated into the choreography. But the highlight of the performance I saw was an exact re-creation of the final dance in Dirty Dancing, executed by Bonavita and Sarah Barnhardt—and done entirely with T. rex arms. The bit shows that combining the best parts of dance and comedy is the perfect formula for a successful show: dancers aspire to perfection, while comedy is all about embracing your flaws. 

We're Dancing! Through 4/29: Fri 8:15 PM, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, stage773.com, $12.


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