Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review of Striding Lion's American Me

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called American Me and it was a dance show. Annie Arnoult Beserra was the choreographer. I loved how they incorporated dance and theater at the same time. They talked, but they still expressed their feelings through movement. It is about all the things that make America America. They use dance as well as science studies, quotes from "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, moral lessons, and songs. This show made me so happy when I saw it. I knew that I was happy because I just wanted to get up and dance with all of the dancers (Britt Banaszynski, Michaela Federspiel, Calyn Guberman, Ericka Lashly, Rachel Molinaro, Christy Stallknecht).

When I think about America I think of the flag and a roadside diner. And that was what was basically on the stage when you went in. In the center of the stage was a giant jukebox. There were also a bunch of chairs and tables on stage with mustard and ketchup and salt and pepper on them. You got to sit in those and drink your Coke. Did I mention that they give you a free Coke if you are one of the first twenty people? If you imagine Coke you think: America. When you drink Coke it tastes super good but if you drink too much then you get a stomachache. So it is like the good and bad parts of America. It is important that they let people sit on stage because America is supposed to be about bringing people together and not having a barrier between actors and audience which is like not having a barrier between royalty and the people. I liked how the dancers came in gradually and then once the music came on they nodded their heads and tapped their feet and eventually they were jumping up and down on the chairs!

There was a song "Dancing with Myself" which was all about dancing with yourself and just having a good time. My favorite thing about it was that everybody just started rocking out and all the moves were very impressive in that song. There was one where they picked each other up and slithered on the ground. And they also basically got up on the other person's back and put all of their body weight on that other person. I liked this section because that was what really made me want to dance. The song worked so perfectly with the choreography, but didn't seem planned, they went with the flow of the music.

I was kind of confused at first when all the dancers were bringing out plastic baskets full of marshmallows. They used the marshmallows as basically like a diamond--they were so special. They were holding them out of reach and everybody was like, "Oh my gosh I need that!" I think the marshmallows were there because they wanted to represent the test where people put out marshmallows for kids and then if they ate them right away instead of waiting (which is called delaying gratification) so then they got two, then they would not have as good as life as the people who didn't eat them. The dancers put marshmallows on everyone's table. I was kind of like "Marshmallows! But I'm not going to eat them" because my mom told me to wait. And then I waited. And I'm glad I waited because I passed the test!

There was a section where they said "I am beautiful I am beautiful I am beautiful I am beautiful." It was like self-reliance. You had to rely on yourself that you were beautiful. Saying that can make you believe it more for a little but then it starts to not make sense anymore. They said "I am beautiful" for like one minute and it kind of got funny along the way because they just kept saying "I am beautiful." But it also stopped making sense because if you say something over and over again then it starts to sound like gobbledygook. There wasn't any dancing in this section, so it was different from the others and I thought that was like a change in the middle from dance to theater and then back again.

I liked how they played the game of Life and suddenly after they played for a little bit they threw the cards everywhere and the board was thrown at someone's feet. It made me think how it could be frustrating sometimes. I have played the game of Life before and I got kind of frustrated too. As well as in real life real life can also be frustrating. Then they started explaining how they did the dance, which I think was the dance from the first part. As they did the dance, they explained what they were doing and what they had to look for on the other person's body so they didn't hurt the person. All these moves were ones where two bodies merged together in one shape. That was dancing with another person, which was why they didn't play "Dancing with Myself." But it was kind of like dancing with yourself because they merged together as one. But they were still dancing with themselves at the same time as dancing with the other person. That was about self-reliance being good sometimes but you shouldn't neglect other people.

People who would like this show are people who like America, diners, and awesome dancing. I think kids, teenagers, and adults would all like this show. People should definitely go and see this show. It is funny, capturing, and you are having a great time throughout the entire show.

Photos: Matthew Gregory Hollis

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