Gym Class HeroesThe alt-rap band Gym Class Heroes is having its moment. The stats prove it: "Cupid's Chokehold" is a Top 10 single on the Billboard charts and the second-most-downloaded song on iTunes. On Wednesday night at the 9:30 club, the band proved worthy of the buzz with a set that throbbed with It status. "This is one of the illest tours ever!" said Travis "Travie" McCoy, frontman for the quartet that formed in 1997 in a Geneva, N.Y., gym class. McCoy wore a gray hoodie and a baseball hat, offering only a peek at his elaborate neck, arm and hand tattoos. The 25-year-old performed with the kind of swagger usually reserved for hotshot college athletes who know they can hook up with any girl on campus. The sold-out, college-age crowd was his -- the only other band member who made an impression was the guy who spent most of the show madly waving a giant Gym Class Heroes flag at center stage.
Early on, the band played "Taxi Driver," from its 2005 debut, "The Papercut Chronicles." It's a name-dropping novelty song with fun wordplay that includes nods to indie musicians like Death Cab for Cutie and Bright Eyes.
Highlights from the current album, "As Cruel as School Children," included a joyful rendition of "Cupid's Chokehold," which made the room explode, and "New Friend Request" (a.k.a. "The MySpace Song" because it charts a relationship as played out on the Web site).
But the Heroes saved the true highlight for the encore, "Clothes Off!," which McCoy performed from the balcony, bouncing around between clusters of adoring fans frantically taking cellphone pictures of the rapping Romeo in their midst.
-- Rachel Beckman
Washington Ballet Studio CompanyFormer New York City Ballet dancer Alexandre Proia exhorted audience members to "open your minds and hearts" to the story of "The Little Prince" as performed Thursday by the Washington Ballet Studio Company. This required looking past Proia's prosaic choreography to see the magic in the classic children's story by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. In Proia's introduction to the work at the England Studio Theater, he explained that he decided to simply tell the story, and that is precisely what he did in the course of 38 1/2 minutes.
A bit of the book is read by a narrator (a pilot whose plane has crashed in the desert), followed by a dance sequence. This formula is repeated. The prince (Tyler Savoie as the adult character or Gabe Hearn-Desautels as the child) visits the asteroid of a king (Kensuke Yorozu), who assumes authority over events that happen anyway. Vanity (danced by Megan Shoare) wants to be admired but lives alone; a drunkard (Savoie) drinks to forget that he is ashamed of drinking; and a businessman (Ayano Tsuchiya) claims to own the stars because no one else has claimed ownership before him. A fox (Savoie again) teaches the prince that "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
Proia leaves the moral of these tales to the words, and the choreography sticks to the obvious. Vanity preens, Drunkard stumbles and Snake (Diana Albrecht) slithers. Although not terribly original, the work is charming nevertheless. When the rose (Giselle Alvarez) minces on her tippy-toes, for example, her body language conveys her boast that she is unique in the universe. Proia would be hard put to portray the book in an abstract manner; it's a realistic tale told through a series of solo character dances.
Also on the program were well-danced excerpts from the Washington Ballet's repertoire, including portions of "Grand Pas Classique," "La Bayadere," "Flower Festival in Genzano" and Trey McIntyre's "Blue Until June," which featured Jason Hartley.
"The Little Prince" continues tonight through Monday.
-- Pamela Squires