BWW Reviews: The Kennedy Center Presents FEET DON'T FAIL ME NOW by Rhythmic Circus

What do you get when you combine tap dancing, a live rocking orchestra, beatboxing and a capella? A whole lot of fun provided by Rhythmic Circus in their current production of FEET DON'T FAIL ME NOW at the Kennedy Center Family Theater. From the moment the show begins, these multitalented dancers and band members make the energy soar, and work and dance like mad to keep it that way.

Minneapolis-based dancers NICK BOWMAN, GALEN HIGGINS, RICCI MILAN and KALEENA MILLER have formed a show that is pretty constantly in sync. Several of the numbers feature at least two of the dancers performing the exact same patterns on an increasingly difficult scale. The show begins with "A Capella Taps" where each dancer comes out to join the others, resulting in a quieter but completely joined effort that is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Add the band in, which features vocals by bassist DAN RISTROM, PATRICK NELSON, CORNELL BLANCHARD, ELLIOTT BLAUFUSS and AARON "HEATBOX" HEATON, and things only get more fun. The songs are funky, the lyrics are understated enough for younger kids in the audience to understand, and sometimes, you find yourself watching the band members' expressions and goofy interactions instead of the dancers. That is the mark of a good show. When there is always something to watch to where you want to see it again, it's solid.

FEET DON'T FAIL ME NOW also incorporates beatboxing, performed by AARON "HEATBOX" HEATON. Heaton, who also sings in certain numbers and dances in "Chairs", is a prime example of the group's multi-talented membership. He is expressive, silly and enraptured all audience members with "The Human Heatbox" which features sounds in reverse, reverberating bass notes and a lot of laughs. Heaton returns in "Battle" to go up against the dancers and see who can win in a sort of sound and dance version of Mortal Kombat.

This is definitely a show that builds. There are quick costume changes from dress shirts and ties to geeky tees and track suits. Everything culminates in the last few numbers like "Circus", where the vibe of the big top is alive and pulsing in the performance, and a colorful curtain displays behind them. There are some loud, low noises and lighting effects which seemed to surprise some of the children, so keep that in mind when considering if they can sit through it.

These Minneapolis-based performers have created something special. It is high energy, gets people clapping (some for practically the entire show) and out of their seats to dance, and it subtly but effectively shows people the charging nature of dance and movement. Go see it, and be prepared to wish you could stay and dance for the remainder of the day.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find tap shoes and a folding chair.

FEET DON'T FAIL ME NOW continues at the Kennedy Center Family Theater through the weekend. The runtime is about 60 minutes, and more information can be found here on the production page.

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From This Author Heather Nadolny

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