“360 Allstars” at the New Victory Theater, 42nd street and Broadway, NY.
My overall impression of this show is, simply put (once it gets going after a protracted introduction) one amazing trick after another until the end. Sometimes several awesome tricks going on at once. You don’t know where to look.
At the New Victory Theater (where we saw the excellent Mother Africa Circus last year, and look forward to the Chinese acrobatic troop, Cirque Ziva next month) until November 30th. Tickets start at $15.
The show consists of seven performers and their support team. First up, two musicians Gene Peterson, drummer and overall artistic director, and Sam Perry who is the high-tech Vocal Loop artist, which means he sings and makes sounds with his voice then uses effects and loops to create a new type of music. It works and its entertaining and fits the theme of the show. “360 allstars”. All things circular, round, spinning, and dizzying. Musical loops, artistic bicycle, break dancers (who spin on their heads etc), Roue Cyr wheel, and of course ball-spinning and juggling.
The juggler, Rashaun Daniels, who is billed, not as juggler at all but rather, “Basketball Man- the Basketball Freestyler” is simply amazing. A true rags to riches story, Rash was not long ago homeless in Hawaii, performing in the streets and perfecting his skills and persona.
Born and raised in New York he has performed in Korea, Japan, Europe, Philippines, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. He has been featured in festivals, TV, basketball half-time shows, corporate events, and performed over 4000 street shows.
Ok, so what does he do already? He manipulates, spins, juggles, and bounces (dribbles) one to five basketballs. At least they look like basketballs, I’m not sure exactly what they are because I didn’t get to examine one, but I think they are basketballs that are slightly deflated.
Even though he has a lot of unique and offbeat tricks he also has many traditional tricks. With one he rolls it around his body, does head rolls, and spins it on various points. He also has mastered spinning it on one finger and accelerating it with another finger of the same hand. So he spins it on his index finger, then moves it to his thumb, and accelerates it with his index finger, then moves it back to spinning on the index. With two he does the difficult simultaneous curls on both sides, left and right, and ball on ball spinning.
Toss juggling with three and four, and dribbling with five. All this with many other bounce tricks under the leg, behind the back, and over the shoulder. Also tossing it into the basket and bouncing on the ball on his derriere. He was also the main comic relief of the show, joking and relating to the audience, especially the younger audience members. A projected image of a button is shown on the screen and he tries to get the kids not to make him press the button or yet another ball will roll out on stage and he’ll have to pick it up and juggle it. Great persona and terrific skills.
Each act comes out and does his solo performance. Then an ensemble piece which includes all five champs, to the music of their two collegues. Then another stint of solo, wherein each tops his previous stunts, then a brief team routine as a finale. During the course of the ensemble each member does a trick of the other member, so the juggler gets on the bicycle, the breakdancer gets in the cyr wheel, etc. proving that each member has also mastered his friend’s skills to some extent. Very effective.
The other members are Peter Sore who did stunts on artistic bicycle (which is now called BMX Flatlanding), and a bit of unicycle; Rhys Miller on Roue Cyr Wheel, and Jared Graham and Youssef El Toufali on breakdancing.
Each member has won at least one award or championship competition in his field. The way they worked well as individuals and as a team was impressive. After about 15 minutes introducing the members, the show goes into turbo mode and doesn’t let up until the end. 75 minutes, no intermission. Fun for the whole family, a great place to take a date, great for jugglers and non-jugglers as well.