Elektro Kif: Not your usual hip-hop beats

Jyle Sulit
Music and dance lovers are in for a techno treat with a twist.

HIP-HOP, WHOLE NEW LIGHT. Elektro Kif is a performance that tells a story through dance. Photo from www.blancali.com

MANILA, Philippines – Basketball jerseys and do-rags often come to mind when talking about today’s hip-hop scene. While both were used in their performances, the urban culture takes a different form when the Bianca Li Company presents Elektro Kif, an urban and hip-hop theater-dance performance.

Set in a school setting, the all-male 8-member cast tells the story of the youth’s search for identity through tecktonik routines, an urban dance form. Combined with the dancers’ “physical prowess and twirling antics,” Elektro Kif presents an otherwise passé story, in a highly unorthodox way.

PHOTO FROM WWW.BLANCALI.COM

It starts in a classroom, the theater stage lined up with 8 tables. A dancer sits behind each of the desks. The production design is minimalistic but sufficient enough to tell the story of a graded recitation about isometric determinants, made lighter by the humorous antics and astonishing dance moves of the cast.

A short tribute to Michael Jackson by a solo dancer followes, eliciting laughter from the audience. The dancer mimicks the King of Pop’s singing style and dance moves. The other members of the cast then joins the soloist and proceeds to perform a sequence of a gang fight on the basketball court. 

What follows is the succession of unique storytelling set in a cafeteria, an examination room, a video game playing session and a computer laboratory — there are no lines, no words, but all of them tell a story.

The performance leaves no room for boredom. In fact, when the cast visited the Cultutral Center of the Philippines (CCP) last month, the warmer-than-warm reception they got from the audience made them grant two short encore dance routines.

PHOTO FROM WWW.BLANCALI.COM

Changing urban traditions

With their costumes alone, the statement to challenge the contemporary urban scene is evident in Elektro Kif. Bright pinks, oranges and lime greens are visible even from the back end of the hall. Even with the basketball jerseys stereotyped for rappers and ghetto fashion, the loudness of their colors set them apart from traditional street wear.

The same is evident in the dance moves. While moves like the “dougie” and the “wiggle” are subtly exhibited by the ensemble, the beautiful movements of the hands, feet, elbows and heads of the dancers are what makes this performance uniquely delightful. They are derived from the electro dance phenomenon, which has made its way to the French online community. 

PHOTO FROM WWW.BLANCALI.COM

What sets Elektro Kif apart from other hip-hop performances is its music selection. Arranged by Spanish-born Tao Guitierrez, the performance was filled with techno-electro beats, with classical music curiously woven in. This added to the viewing pleasure of the audience, seeing the graceful artists perform their very best on stage.

Get a feel of the Elektro Kif energy here:

Overall, Elektro Kif being tagged as “an urban and hip-hop dance performance” may lead people to think it’s just about flashy jewelry, oversized wardrobe and suggestive dance moves.

But, no.

Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised as the Blanca Li Company gives you all these and more, in a different light. – Rappler.com

(Elektro Kif was presented by the Embassy of France, the Alliance Francaise de Manille and Rustan’s last May 30 at the Little Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The Blanca Li Company is currently touring the Elektro Kif performance around South East Asia.)


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