The economy is in disarray. Jobs are scarce. How ever shall we make it in such a competitive work force? Not to fear, Nothin’ But Cuties (NBC), Williams’ leading and only co-ed hip-hop dance group, beckoned to our call in Goodrich last weekend as they took us through a number of “real world” occupations in their show entitled Occupational Hazard: NBC Goes to Work.
Hosted by Rousseau Mieze ’10, the show began with the group’s infamous call-and-response â€“ “NBC, you know” â€“ which succeeded in stirring up the anticipation already permeating through the audience. Just as NBC brought the crowd into an imaginary classroom in their opening act, they kept the ball rolling by stepping on, rolling on and jumping over chairs. The butt-shaking and rhythmic moves of choreographer Hayley Brooks ’12, put to the beats of “Shake” by the Ying Yang Twins and “Show Off That Body” by Petey Pablo, more than adequately prepared us for what to expect in the remainder of the show.
Next, the audience was transported to the life of street dancers. Adorned with graphic tees, skinny jeans and brightly colored high top sneakers to polish off the look, the dancers in this piece, entitled “So Dope,” perfectly portrayed the lyrics of the song of the same name. While the favored move was the leg butterfly, Derrick Robertson, assistant director of Admission, showed us just how dope he was as he jumped to center stage and krumped a quick solo.
After all that high-energy excitement, Speakfree members Colin Killick ’12 and Daquan Mickens ’12 gave the audience a short reprieve. Both spoke on dating culture but took two very different approaches. Killick expressed his disgust with the nature of hook-ups in a piece that began with an observer’s advice to “just get her drunk.” It was a clear warning to all the guys in the room to steer clear of Killick if he learns of their intentions to take advantage of a girl. Mickens, on the other hand, poured out his affections for “the cutie with a booty.” He used a cunning metaphor likening the search of love to the strategic dodge and punch matches of boxing. By the end of the piece, he was lured in and knocked out.
Returning to our “regularly scheduled programming,” as Mieze so poetically phrased it, NBC returned to the stage to show us a different side of the streets. Male members Will Weiss ’12, Jason Hernandez ’13 and Robertson sat patiently as they waited for their respective dance partners to entice them to the dance floor. After a few seductive moves and some stylistic grinding, the “police” moved in to break up the explicit activities. The music quickly transitioned to “No Daddy” by Teairra Mari, in which the audience was warned to not “let my cute face fool you.” The girls of NBC here showcased their attitude, dropping to the floor on hands and knees, then popping back up to further declare their independence with sharp and elongated gestures. NBC next slowed things down with a steamy, synchronized choreography that visibly communicated to all the boys in the audience exactly what they wanted, just before transitioning back to the popping and swirling of the hips of the street dancer.
For the second interlude, Mieze proved with an original hip-hop song that he was more than just an entertaining host. The entire crowd stood up, including the parents in the audience, clapping and reciting the well-known lyrics, “If you’re an Eph, stand to your feet.”
The group’s continuing exploration of real world occupations next brought the audience to boot camp, complete with sweat pants and tank tops. NBC worked hard for their stars, dropping to their knees, rolling on the floor and jumping on and off of the stage to make way for the next batch of “troops.” They orchestrated one move where they did a double handshake and used the momentum to swing one another off stage. The piece ended with the performers punching a salute that would have made their drill sergeant proud.
NBC concluded the show in outfits normally suitable only for a jazzercise class. I have never seen such bright colors and short shorts, but I suppose they worked perfectly to suggest the effectiveness of booty popping as a calorie-burning (and attractive) exercise. With hands crossed for the beginning portion of the routine, NBC bounced their way through the show’s finale; their body rolls were well defined, and their snaking to the ground maneuvers must have really worked those abs.
Overall, the performance was an enjoyable experience that left every audience member trying to pop and drop it like NBC. As we were taken through a day in the life of the street dancer, street walker and soldier, NBC danced into our memories and proved why they are an occupational hazard.