The saying ‘opposites attract’ is most often used to describe a phenomenon that draws people together. It’s something you may have experienced yourself at one time or another — you butt heads with someone on some level, or perhaps you find complete disagreement across the board. Perhaps it’s the excitement of a good debate that gets your blood flowing, or maybe learning about the other side strengthens your argument against it. For some it may simply be the excitement of something new — of exploring a perspective outside of your own. Whatever the reason, the age old saying has some serious staying power. But perhaps, it’s time to take the old saying and breathe some new life into it. That is exactly what Movement Revolution Dance Crew Artistic Director Monte Rezell is doing in an upcoming performance whose name is the saying itself – Opposites Attract.
In 2010, Monte founded Movement Revolution Dance Crew with the mission of spreading the message of positive hip hop. Like many cultural traditions that go mainstream, the root and history of hip hop are not common knowledge, yet its elements are rampant throughout society. Since its founding, MRDC has made great strides in educating all those they can reach about the rich history of hip hop culture, including Chicago’s youth through the company’s Healthy Hip Hop program. The passion Monte has for sharing his knowledge is equal to his curiosity and need to learn more about the world around him – an infectious quality that permeates his rehearsals and inspires each dancer in the room to do the same. To support this, Monte continues to provide a haven for dancers of all backgrounds to train in a diverse range of hip hop styles, both old and new school. That diversity in training is supported by opportunities to cross-train and incorporate elements of jazz, lyrical, contemporary and African dance.
Three years ago, Monte dove into producing Opposites Attract to give his dancers an opportunity to express their choreographic voices and utilize their varied movement skill sets. This year, the production leaps to new heights by incorporating dance styles from across the globe. To learn more about the concept and vision for Opposites Attract, DancerMusic Dance Editor Kristi Licera caught up with Monte. Here’s what he told us:
One of the main ideas behind the production was to present dance and movement that explored and fused different styles of dance and pushed the limits of creativity.
Kristi: This year will be the third production of Movement Revolution Dance Crew’s Opposites Attract. Can you tell us about your initial inspiration for the show and how the overall production and concept has evolved over the last three years?
Monte: I started Opposites Attract in 2017 with the idea of curating a performance that would showcase the talent and diversity of Movement Revolution Dance Crew, as well as the many influences that inspire us to create. One of the main ideas behind the production was to present dance and movement that explored and fused different styles of dance and pushed the limits of creativity. This show gives members of MRDC a chance to choreograph and set a piece that is challenging as well as fun.
Over the last three years, our choreography and show have evolved through the depth of which we fuse dance styles or integrate other influences into our work. If you attended Opposites Attract in the past, you would have seen dances that use movement from ballet and hip hop in the same piece, as well as dances that show the lineage of movement across decades like the link between Modern dance and African dance. This year’s show features dances that span different cultures and combine styles such as Bollywood and Hip Hop and Cuban Salsa and Breakdance. The show will also feature an opening number that tips its hat to old-school hip hop music and street dance and urban contemporary influences, plus a closing number with Afro-Latin influences, K-pop and more!
We show that we are all one people, no matter what country you are from or what music your family listens to or what cultural dances you do. Dance unites our souls.
Kristi: As dancers and choreographers, we often use our beloved medium to learn more about ourselves, our culture and the world we live in. It becomes a way for us to deepen our understanding of who we are and how we can effectively co-exist. This approach applies to Opposites Attract this year more than ever. Can you tell us more about the works in the program and how they speak to the mission and concept of the performance?
Monte: This year, a lot of the works in the program show how diverse we are as dancers and how we are affected by the diversity of our city. My love for hip hop shines through it all. Also, my love for different styles of dance and music is felt throughout the program as I encourage the choreographers to explore and showcase an array of movement to an array of music. In total, there are nearly twenty new works that will be presented throughout the program. Out of all three years, this is definitely the show that brings my original vision to life the most.
The opening number is an ode to old school hip hop, and as the show progresses you get to see influences from around the world. Bollywood from India, K-Pop from Korea, Rueda De Casino from Cuba, Afro-Latin dances from the Caribbean and much more. The mission was to look all around us and be inspired by everything we see and hear, then take that inspiration and create dances that show off those influences – take two things that are sometimes seen as opposites and bring them together in harmony..
The more we explore, the more we will create new fusions, new dances and combine moves that create an evening of dance that is truly unique.
The program combines different dance styles that traditionally have not been done together and put them on stage as partners. In doing so, we bring cultures together and share and deepen our understanding of different ethnic backgrounds and traditions. We show that we are all one people, no matter what country you are from or what music your family listens to or what cultural dances you do. Dance unites our souls.
Another goal of this show is to push us to be creative in new ways; I wanted to see just how creative we could be. The more we explore, the more we will create new fusions, new dances and combine moves that create an evening of dance that is truly unique.
Movement Revolution Dance Crew presents Opposites Attract March 2 at 7pm and March 3 at 1pm. Both performances take place at Links Hall (3111 North Western Avenue, Chicago). Tickets for both events can be purchased online via Eventbrite. To purchase tickets to the March 2 performance, click here. For tickets to the March 3 matinee, click here.
To learn more about the company, visit www.movementrevolutiondancecrew.com.