1:24 pm Oct. 3, 2012
Flex is Kings—the forthcoming documentary about Brooklyn’s flex dancing movement, which we first wrote about in April—continued its roll today.
As part of the Dumbo Arts Festival this past weekend, 20 members of the Brooklyn flex crew, many of whom appear in the film, performed inside the powerHouse Arena before what looked to be around 100 people, and the performance garnered a show review in today's New York Times by dance critic Brian Seibert entitled, provocatively, “The Body as Pretzel, With Lots of Mustard.”
At the performance, dancers demonstrated what it means to “tut” and “bone break,” and enlightened the crowd on “exclamations of approval” such as “modd” and “B.A.,” which the dancer Reem compared to “Mazel Tov.” Of Reem’s peculiar floor-skimming dance style, Seibert writes: “His musical timing and dramatic pacing were heightened by the look on his face, a scared-child expression that could be interpreted either as memories from a rough upbringing or a normal response to the other dancers.”
Storyboard Professor, an elusive, nomadic character who is one the top talents on the flex dance scene, nearly stole the show. “In Storyboard’s style,” Seibert writes, “the common motifs of being blown backward and pulling yourself up became aching expressions of emotion. His liquid flow was otherworldly, and it was brave how he risked being seen as feminine.”
Deidre Schoo, who directed the film with Michael Beach Nichols, is currently in Amsterdam, creating video content for a project about the jittery Angolan dance and music phenomenon Kuduro—Portuguese for “hard ass.” In a phone interview, Schoo said the article may have been the first to truly validate flexing as a dance form.
“A number of flex dancers are on tour with Madonna and have performed on shows like 'America’s Best Dance Crew,'” she said. Jonathan George, a.k.a. Jay Donn, is currently touring with Big Bad University, the artist and songwriter collective launched by Sky Blu of the band LMFAO. “But flex is still pretty underground," Schoo said. "It was great to see it acknowledged by a dance critic for the Times.”
When we spoke with Schoo back in August, Ashton Kutcher was considering airing a series based on Flex is Kings on his personal YouTube channel, ThashLab. Last month, that series, known as “Bklyn Flex,” aired a total of four episodes and three supplemental pieces. In the most recent video, dancer Spyda gives a demonstration on hat tricks.
As for the film, Schoo recently submitted a rough cut to Sundance and secured representation from Visit Films, a boutique distributor that represented First Position, an award-winning ballet documentary that premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival.
A selection of scenes from Flex is Kings will be shown on December 1 as part of the Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturday’s program. Stars of the film will also perform live.
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