Last Dancer Standing (More Than Hip-Hop) | Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Deverin Deonte and cast

Deverin Deonte and cast

Michael Courier

Last Dancer Standing (More Than Hip-Hop) 

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 3 2017
Price: $49.50-$65
“Welcome to our live broadcast,” chirps each usher at Rueben Echoles's musical Last Dancer Standing (More Than Hip-Hop) as contestants mark through choreography before vying for money, glory, and the opportunity to tour with R&B star Justin Paul (Deverin Deonte). Between the ritual catchphrases of the contest, the cattiness of the competitors, and the egotism, sexual harassment, and mansplaining that dominate the off-camera scenes, “it’s like you’ve been here before,” notes one contender. And you have. The panel of judges on the side. The contrived group challenges. The public confessions. The mean girl, the underdog, the sassy gay man, and the others, who have little function beyond protracting the process. Just when you dismiss it as mere entertainment, the show makes a stunning salute to Black Lives Matter, minorities in the arts, and your mama—but if you like dance contests, you’ll have fun too. —Irene Hsiao



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