Take a soupcon of break dancing, stir in a little je ne sais quoi of old-school rave arms, add a modicum of mime together with a pinch of ballet, and you have my very bad description of Electro, a radical dance style borne out of suburban Paris. Elektro Kif presents a troupe of grotesquely talented 20-something Parisian rude boys who make astonishingly adroit ambassadors of Electro…and if their disgustingly decent dance skills weren’t enough, these gorgeous garconnes are HILARIOUS. This isn’t just good dance; it’s laugh-out-loud comedy, goofy slapstick and first-rate theatre.
The official description in Elektro Kif’s programme says the Electro dance style is an infusion of “breaking, popping, locking, disco and vogueing”, most of which I don’t understand at all (“breaking” and “locking” sound very uncomfortable indeed), but what I can tell you is that it is mesmerising…in a sort of laid-back “that’s really cool man” kind of way. Street innit.
The show, created by Spanish-born choreographer and director Blanca Li, tells the story of a typical day at college. Each dancer plays a distinct character (the funny one, the camp one, the moody one, etc.) and each dance depicts a typical event (registration, maths class, lunch, and so on). The action is played out to music that varies from foot-stomping house to cool classical, which cleverly incorporates sound effects and voiceovers to add atmosphere and narrative. Then there are the costumes: ladies and gentlemen, these dudes are wearing leopard-print shorts over pink-and-orange stripy tights, worn in the most butch way ever. Somehow, it works.
I’ve seen a lot of contemporary dance (my sister’s a dancer) but in Elektro Kif I saw extremities move in ways I never imagined possible - think Madonna’s Vogue arms sped up and turned upside down and inside out several times per second. Perhaps. Anyway, thankfully the Elektro Kif chaps display none of Madonna’s moody faces and instead they fuel the show with a folly-load of frolicking.
Elektro Kif reminds me of my favourite kind of humans: the ones who dare to astound you with their gob-smacking talents, and then have a bloody good laugh about it. It is Electro-fying fun.