Modern circus explores rhythm through dance, beat boxing

A group of funky tap dancers and musicians known as Rhythmic Circus brought an energetic show “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!” to the Wadsworth Auditorium stage on March 28. The show began with a simple first number. The four main dancers took the stage to perform “A Cappella Taps,” a piece that reflects its title. Despite being an understated start to the show, the performance wowed the audience with unprecedented talent. The piece highlighted each tapper’s individuality, while also expressing their ability to perform in perfect unison.

The second piece of the evening was titled “We Got It.” The seven-piece funk band introduced itself through this song, presenting a jazzy and swing style. Although the band began the number alone, three of the tap dancers joined to bring two worlds of live performance together.

In the first of the two title pieces, called “Heatbox,” the company’s beat boxer Aaron Heaton blew the audience away with his skill. With only a single spotlight, Heaton captured the attention of the audience and held it for the entirety of the piece.

The band then slowed it down with “I Believe,” when three of the dancers rejoined the band to perform. With this piece, all the performers displayed how tap and music can perfectly complement one another. In “World Tour,” the next piece, the performers relied on a different theme. Two of the dancers “battled” the saxophonist in a rhythmic combat that left the audience in awe.

For the final piece of the first act, one cast member sat in a chair and spoke to the audience. Another then joined him, and the two proceeded to begin to tell the story of how they first met in study hall. “Porch Jam,” however, took a surprisingly interesting turn when the two started banging out rhythms on their chairs.

Eventually, all the performers slowly joined the pair on stage with different instruments, such as kitchen utensils and a washboard, to create different beats, culminating in a brilliant closing piece for the first act. The company showcased its ability to perform in multiple media creatively while demonstrating just how remarkable rhythm can be.

In the first piece of act two, the performers continued to reveal their multiple talents. “Dream Song” presented the singer and guitarists of the band. The dancers then joined the musicians and changed the course of the piece with stepping.

With “Salsa,” the performers incorporated some Spanish flair into the show. “Boogie Monster” was another upbeat piece, emitting pure fun and energy. Both numbers combined the forces of the musicians and dancers.

“Circus” was the most spectacular number of the night. Keeping the circus theme in mind, the performers donned circus-inspired costumes and bright colors. This high-energy and fast-paced piece strongly displayed the capabilities of all on stage.

In “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now,” the final piece of the night, it was evident how much everyone on stage enjoyed performing, leaving the audience on its feet in a standing ovation.