Be the Groove | Hoover-Leppen Theatre, Center on Halsted | Dance | Chicago Reader

Be the Groove New Review (Theater and Comedy) The Short List (Theater)

When: Fridays. Continues through Dec. 18 2011

This enthusiastic five-year-old dance-and-percussion group suggests a less sophisticated, less ambitious Stomp or Jellyeye Drum Theatre. In "Winter Break Down (Louder Than Your Christmas Sweater)," Be the Groove performs 18 short pieces, a few of which stand out from the slew of drum, bucket, and/or body percussion numbers. Among those that do: associate artistic director Kevin Durnbaugh's slam-poetry history of rhythm, Shot in the Dark, and artistic director Stephanie Paul's intricately counterpointed Conference Call. Two new pieces—Lindsay Shepherd's Listen! and Tarah Ortiz Durnbaugh's Please Don’t Go—also break the BTG mold. But no dance molds get broken, and despite all the effort, "Winter Break Down" seldom achieves liftoff. Tap-dancing guest artists M.A.D.D. Rhythms brought an agreeable swing to the occasion. Next Friday and Saturday's guest is Chicago Dance Crash. —Laura Molzahn

Price: $20-$25

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