Merzouki is noted for successfully bringing hip hop, a street dance form, onto stage, as well as injecting new elements into it. His new production Vertikal, just as the title suggests, explores the way to present vertically the very much floor-based hip hop dance, breaking free from the limits of gravity to generate choreographic elements to produce unique, contemporary hip hop sequences.
Traditional hip hop usually involves a lot of movements or spins on the floor. Although there are flips, it is important that dancers land precisely and stably, and then do a freeze with their personal styles. In Vertikal, besides upside downs, lifts and flips, the ten dancers are supported by suspension ropes to perform gravity-defying leaping and flying stunts, as if being in the zero-gravity outer space, or floating on water. The performance not only raises such movements as somersaults to a higher level, but also adds a tinge of poetic romance to the sturdy and forthright street dance vocabularies.
By William W.Y. Chan
Hong Kong art critic and media producer, mainly involved in performing arts studies and teaching of media in recent years
This article is excerpted and translated from Chinese
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