Pulling together three different pieces all within the dance style of Krump (Kingdom Radically Uplifted Mighty Praise) Artists 4 Artists nurture the dance style started in the early 2000s in LA with new work by three young choreographers. With continuous energy, movement and imagination we were dazed by a spectacle that fills your head with music and your veins with adrenaline.
Although the pieces differ in almost every way, the wide range of themes covered creates a taster menu of the best the dance style has to offer. Unfortunately, there are rather long gaps in-between the pieces that slow down the build-up of the momentum that has been lovingly crafted. With very little set and a small number of dancers I am also perplexed as to what they are doing in the darkness. The other drawback is what trips up a lot of dance pieces: length. Although what is on stage is impressive, some parts could be slimmed down a touch to make the show roll with a little more pace.
Within all the pieces, every dancer provides flare, breathtaking skill and ability. Krump’s history as a dance style – it was created to provide a powerful but non-violent alternative to the street gangs of LA – really comes through in 3 Rounds of Amp. With its faith-based connotations, the focus on the self and a struggle with the human body makes it an arresting art form. From exaggerated movements, splayed fingers, and truly inhuman contortions Krumping is an undervalued part of the dance world. With enough infectious passion to make more established disciplines look grey and lifeless in comparison, Krump deserves this time in the spotlight.
With an audience that is clearly invested in what is going on on-stage, the whole evening is an experience and a great example of this enigmatic dance style. Your heart is pounding constantly as the dancers portray a range of emotions, both hard and soft, angry and frustrated as their bodies are pushed to their very limits.
Antony Hateley’s clever lighting provides depth and context. Amanda Pefkou (performer and choreographer) Joshua Nash and Jordan ‘Jfunk’ Franklin’s choreography creates three pieces that stand confidently alone. ‘Stranger at Home’ by Pefkou is a difficult journey, a lonely exploration of the idea of home, with a fascinating costume by Gabriela Lotaif. This piece is the most emotive: thrashing and clawing at herself Pefkou’s interaction with her skeletal costume is fascinating. Ending on ‘I Belong Here’ after snatches of a foreign tongue this political commentary is rare for a dance piece. Nash’s ‘Blacklist’ is a powerhouse of strength and masculine power. With three topless male performers, this is a slick exploration of friendship, isolation and aggression and is by far the most technically impressive dance- and choreography-wise. The glistening bodies of the performers are a testament to just how demanding Krumping is as a dance form. The last piece, Franklin’s ‘AIMagination’, is surreal and technically impressive with regards to the use of lights and props. Again with three male dancers this almost video-game-like world overflows with youthful exuberance.
Each piece is unique and has completely converted me to the importance of this dance style. Krumping is the angry, high-energy, complex and versatile expressive tool the world needs right now! Exhibiting ingenuity and irrefutable danceability, 3 Rounds of Amp storms the stage, managing to question how we use our bodies to tell a narrative, and the reliance on the corporeality of this world. The audience is left elated and a little tired as we exit The Place theatre.
3 Rounds of Amp played The Place on 13 April.