The cast of Stomp, that international theater hit starring a motley gang of percussive dancers, performed at Mansion this past Friday as a special addition to the show’s week-long stint at the Carnival Center. The event, billed as "Stomp vs. DJ Ideal,” wasn’t so much a rivalry between a wax slinger and off-Broadway dancers as it was a mashup of hip-hop and physical theater.
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Near the beginning of the night, the Ol Dirty Bastard’s gruff voice boomed from the speakers long enough to restore – then quickly deplete -- my faith in “open format”: The song was actually Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy.” DJ Ideal continued to warm the crowd up with old-school jams like Montell Jordan’s "This is how we do it."
Soon thereafter the music stopped and the curtains were drawn. Stompers lined the stage and began to clap. Most dancers were outfitted in jeans and tank tops, with the exception of the token nerdy guy in suspenders and glasses. In this first of two seven-minute sets, the group produced noise with chest-pounding and manic hand-slapping. Like urban tap dancers, the Stompers thumped and thwacked their feet to the floor; flailing limbs unleashed hidden beatboxes.
Those seven minutes passed quickly and the curtains closed. Near the front of the stage the hostess of the evening, Nip/Tuck actress Kelly Carlson, applied a layer of lip gloss. She appeared demure enough in an all-black getup with white Chanel wrist cuffs, but her empty VIP couch protected by club-provided security were celeb-status giveaways. Honestly, I didn't know who she was until I asked. Carlson’s manager actually looked more like the eccentric bigwig, mostly because of his hair, which was bleached blonde and stood up straight about three to four inches, à la bride of Frankenstein.
After thirty minutes the dancers reappeared on stage, this time with garbage cans, saws, buckets, and pipes in tow. Tunes by the Sugar Hill Gang and Salt-N-Pepa formed the soundtrack as the troupe banged and pounded their instruments in a synchronized orchestra of the streets. — Alexandra Quiñones