Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jai's Take on ABDC's Martial Arts Challenge

Here's the rest of Jai's review of America's Best Dance Crew 4 Martial Arts Challenge. Thanks Jai!

AfroBorike – capoeira
I definitely caught their signature salsa moves during their performance with the couples dancing and at the end with the girls leaping into the guys’ arms…which was okay, but it made me think of last week’s performance. They didn’t really utilize the entire stage that well, and their spacing was off at times. Unlike their “Beautiful Liar” routine, last night’s performance lacked intensity, and the timing was off at certain points. The capoeira kicks the crew demonstrated did not have any power behind them. It seemed like AfroBorike just did them to say they “completed” their task. I didn’t care for the song of choice either. I think the Pitbull track would have been better for the crew’s choice challenge than for the martial arts challenge.

We Are Heroes – karate
Of course, the popping and locking sections were hot as well as the ladies’ outfits! They executed the “flying fist” move pretty good while giving low to high levels. Although they kept in synch with the song, I still felt as though the ladies did not utilize the entire stage like AB. The “gong slap” at the end of the routine fell flat. The ladies looked nervous and unsure leading up to that final move, too. Fanny Pak’s similar move for the Missy Elliott challenge was more controlled, smooth and confident. However, WAH’s assisted flips and the jumping leap were the highlight of their performance!

Vogue Evolution – kung fu
I knew one of my favorite crews would bring the creativity, energy and entertainment value to their performance! Even though I had seen Leiomy as the “new Catwoman” in a voguing clip on Youtube, it was still kinda hot to see her do it outside of a ball setting. It felt as if VE rushed through some parts of their performance, making them appear a little sloppy, frenetic and unorganized. If VE slowed down some parts of their routine, I think I would have a better appreciation for their work. The levels executed were okay, but not as sharp as in week one. And I hardly saw any kung fu moves in their routine. Then again, the moves might have shown up during that point in the routine where it got frenetic. However, I will say that the Riverdance footwork (Dynamic Edition-esque clogging maybe?) was cold, and I LOVED that it was in synch with the song!

Massive Monkees – extreme martial arts
I really enjoyed the ripple effect the guys did near the beginning of the routine when they were paired up; MM’s levels were on point as well. Although I admired the guys for challenging themselves with the 540 flip, it disappointed me when it wasn’t executed that well except in J.D.’s case. That tornado kick was a little underwhelming, too. The end of the routine really showed MM’s athleticism though! J.D. catching Brysen with one arm was hot in itself, but catching his crew mate in synch with the end of the song while the rest of MM hit their final move…pretty major if you ask me!

Beat Ya Feet Kings – tae kwon do
The crew’s signature footwork at the beginning of the routine was cool. Although the split kicks were hot, the transition leading up to it seemed confusing and awkward. Also, the waving was not as synchronized as it could have been. Kudos for incorporating the quick feet movement into the performance because it looked exhausting during the crew’s rehearsal, but I guess I didn’t see the high level of difficulty for executing that move during their routine. I think the performance would have made a better impression if BYFK did the quick feet move while evolving it into a “beating ya feet” move instead of having the two moves appear at different times during the routine. And slapping Porche’s ass at the end of the performance was not necessary! LOL!

Rhythm City – muay thai
YES! One of the crews that I came to like from the first episode came back with a vengeance! Who knew getting knocked to the bottom would yield such a cold performance? I clearly was not ready. LMAO! I LOVED the creativity, the entertainment value and the crew’s confidence. The Kill Bill theme really added some flavor to the overall performance. RC’s formations were precise and clean as well as their synchronization with the song…so on point! Their isolations were thorough, and they used the stage very well. Kenny & Denzel’s running back flips off of Phramez exhibited RC’s athleticism and precision VERY WELL. Even when Mario was introducing SM’s challenge, the crowd was still “oohing” and “aahing”…LOL! The moral of this story: RC killed it…and not softly either!

Southern Movement – kali
I finally understand the opening/closing pose NOW! It was a take on this portrait. HA! LOVED THAT! I saw a signature line dance move at the beginning of the routine, but I liked the fact that the choreography reflected the song’s lyrics (i.e. “Though I am country, don’t get the wrong idea.” LOL!). SM utilized the stage very well and looked smooth and confident during the entire performance. The knee slide with the kali sticks was on point. I enjoyed the formations where everyone lined up behind Todd at one point and then spread out across the stage. Speaking of Todd, he twirled the HELL out of that kali stick…YES! [Sidebar: I’m inclined to think that he (and some other SM crew mates maybe?) is a member of a certain Black Greek letter organization. If Todd is a member of a particular fraternity, then he twirled that kali stick as if it were a red and white cane! *winks*]
I’ll admit that I gave this crew a hard time and could not get past seeing the "hick-hop" thing as a gimmick. But after their sudden death battle in episode one, I started to notice how good SM actually was. However, the first week that they shed their cowboy hats and showed me the real SM was the same week they were eliminated. Damn! I’m a little sad that they’re gone because this crew really could dance.

Overall, this episode was pretty lackluster. RC and SM had the best, most complete performances of the night; I didn’t see a single weakness in either routine. In the words of JC (sort of), the challenges owned some of the crews and not vice versa. I hope Shane’s criticism – no matter how harsh the delivery – lights a serious fire under the remaining crews’ asses for the Bollywood challenge. As far as which crews will be in the bottom two, I think it will be BYFK and (it pains me to say this because I love them…LOL!) VE with BYFK being the eliminated crew next week. Until Sunday…

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