Stage and Cinema film and theatre reviews




picture - Ballerina Who Loves B-boyTheater Review

by John Topping

published October 31, 2008


Ballerina Who Loves B-boy

now playing Off Broadway at the 37 Arts

through December 21


Korean break dancing.  Oh, it’s here, baby.  Uh huh.  You got your Break Out playing in Union Square.  And now you got your Ballerina Who Loves B-boy at 37 Arts, starring the B-boy World Champions of 2007, EXTREME CREW (they did not retain their title in 2008, but it also happens that no break dance crew has been a B-boy World Champion more than once – something that perhaps needs some investigation).  And who knows what’s coming next?  All we know is that, yeah, it’s coming.  You like your dancing extreme?  You like your hip hop loud?  Well, you got it, bitch.  It’s LOUD and it’s EXTREME!  Eat it!


Break Out is for kids.  And that’s fine.  Ballerina Who Loves B-boy will be liked by kids, too, but here they aren’t the exclusive demographic.  Teenagers and young adults will like it too.  Those of us in the over-35 set will like it much more with a set of earplugs, as it is a tad on the loud side.  Taking photographs of the show, normally frowned upon, are here enthusiastically encouraged (with further enthusiastic encouragement to post them on your MySpace or FaceBook page).  Don’t worry about the flash of the camera; that just adds to the desired aura of stimulation overload.  Jumping, dancing and shouting is a-okay, too.  In case the audience gets a little out of control, it is to the advantage of 37 Arts that the theater is built as a solid concrete structure.


Like Break Out, the plot of BWLB-b is pretty inconsequential – just something to hang the dancing on.  But unlike Break Out, the plot doesn’t intrude on the proceedings; in fact, you might not even notice that there is one, except from the continual mugging and pointing and gesticulating to indicate a conversational exchange.  A B-boy crew hangs out in front of a building, break dancing to loud hip hop music.  In a dance studio above, the noise disrupts a trio of ballerinas in rehearsal.  The ballerina develops a crush on one of the b-boys and tries to fit into their world.  The rest of the crew doesn’t trust her and tries to keep the two of them apart.  I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but things do end up loud.


Ballerina Who Loves B-boy also displays much more break dancing than its in-town competition.  Neither show can keep up the extreme energetic athletic gymnastic acrobatics at full tilt for the entire 90-ish minutes (and both would benefit enormously if the time were cut in half), but BWLB-b manages to have more of it, more impressively displayed (spinning on one’s head for several seconds on end ((with helmet assistance)) was particularly dazzling), and the evening definitely passes by faster.  Though it seems impossible when you consider the physical condition they have to be in, they also have a genuinely chubby break dancer, who steals quite a bit of the show; not just from his anomalous presence, but his funny likeability as well (he’s the one I would have gone for if I’d been the ballerina, but that, of course, would have been quite a different show).  One other unique accomplishment is that, when the flashing lights have dimmed and the assault of sound has diminished, you may leave the theater feeling you’ve been both thoroughly entertained and mercilessly tortured.


johntopping @


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