Picks :: Battlecats and Kenna Sarge

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January 4, 2010 // UPDATED 8:52 am - January 4, 2010
By: Cristof Traudes
Cristof Traudes
Stem cells and aliens, DJs and head spins

B-boy J-Sun is one of the most passionate voices for hip-hop dance in the Twin Cities. On top of popping, spinning and flipping like the best of them, J-Sun went to the University of Minnesota in the hopes of becoming the school’s first professor of hip-hop.

To him, hip-hop isn’t the 50 Cent culture dominating MTV’s rap scene. He talks about it as the blending of cultures, passions and skills. It’s a celebration.

J-Sun also wants to make hip-hop dance — most of us know it as break dancing — as respected a form of art as, say, ballet. Someday, he hopes, people will pack into theaters to see the best of the best of hip-hop dance perform amazing feats of choreography. It’s no surprise to see his crew, the Battlecats, scheduled for a night of innovative dance at the Southern.

The show is called “The Way” and will feature a world dominated by stem cells, MCs, DJs and aliens. J-Sun will be joined by fellow b-boys Sequel, Minnesota Joe and Rello, Dancin’ Dave, Jessie Jess and Boogie Bones.

Stick around for Kenna Sarge’s fusion of West African and hip-hop techniques. Live drumming combined with dance tell the story of how West African roots made it to the present, a painful history transitioning to a spirited now.

Battlecats and Kenna Sarge
Jan. 14–17
Southern Theater
1420 Washington Ave. S.


Glamour, bright lights and welfare

Sorry, there’s no Beyoncé in this traveling stage version of the film that rocketed Jennifer Hudson to stardom (and an Oscar), but it’s still much worth your time. Arriving just a month after Minnesota’s first showings of “In the Heights,” “Dreamgirls” is yet another debut for us.

This is the story of the Dreams, a loosely fictitious version of the Supremes that shoot to success partly on their music, partly on their glamour and largely on their manager’s superficial decision-making. Left in the dust is their original lead singer, whose life spirals out of control and into despair.

The story gets dark on occasion, but the music — and the musical — never loses its groove. You’ll nod your head and tap your toes, even when a character struggles through welfare.

Jan. 12–17
Orpheum Theatre
910 Hennepin Ave.