Reporting Sara Pelissero
Take a crazy talented group of friends and one intriguing idea and you’ve got an incredibly entertaining show, coming soon to a Minneapolis theater.
There’s really no easy way to describe Rhythmic Circus. With a quartet of tap dancers, a soulful singer, an insane beatboxer and a five-piece band, the local group is unique to say the least.
“This is a project that really started out as just friends,” said keyboardist/vocalist Cory Blanchard. “The guys in the band have been playing together for nine, 10 years now. Some of them more.”
You may be familiar with several members of Rhythmic Circus, especially if you frequent Gluek’s in downtown Minneapolis. A large chunk of the group moonlights as the band, Root City — a popular funk, rock, blues band in the Twin Cities.
To transform into Rhythmic Circus, the group adds a little more flair, some explosive dance moves, costumes and a lot of humor. They call the show, “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” and it’s coming to the Pantages Theatre this weekend.
The group also plans to bring the show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August — the largest Fringe Festival in the world — and is planning an upcoming Off-Broadway run.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start from the beginning. Blanchard said their show really started with Artistic Director/Dancer Ricci Milan and his latest big idea.
“He was in ‘go’ mode. And you know Ricci, when he’s in ‘go’ mode, he’s obviously in ‘go’ mode — he’s motivated, he’s passionate and he’s so convincing,” he said. “He came up to me and he said, ‘Cory, we’re going to take over the world.’”
What he meant by that, of course, was that he was ready to inspire the world through their music and dance — he wanted to build a show that would do that.
“Our message, in my eyes, is that we’re doing what we love to do, and so should you,” he said.
They started to work on the show and truly collaborated from start to finish. For some pieces, the music drove the movement. For others, it was vice versa.
“We basically pooled our resources as far as talent and ability went and basically wrote a show around that,” Blanchard said.
The show has a little bit of everything — and a little bit of every member poured into one big melting pot. Though Blanchard admits, that may pose a problem if the show goes on tour or heads Off-Broadway.
“It’s going to be tough to find a swing or sub for every position,” he said. “Because our drummer, also plays tuba, also plays acoustic guitar, sings and does percussion. So to find a guy or gal to do that, it may take four guys to cover for him if he can’t make a show.”
Still, it’s exciting for the group to show audiences they really have something special to offer — something they’ve never seen before. And most importantly, something from the great state of Minnesota.
“It’s so much fun to represent Minnesota and bring that Minnesota energy to everywhere we go,” Blanchard said, adding that some people are shocked to learn . “I think it’s really fun to represent that Minnesota and show we do have a great scene here and really surprise people that way.”
And when it comes to playing in their hometown, like this Friday and Saturday at Pantages — Blanchard said there’s really nothing better.
“We’re really excited. We love playing at home, in Minneapolis. Just because we know a lot of people in the crowd are going to be our friends, family and fans from the past. And we know the energy will be there,” he said. “We play some shows where the crowd isn’t sure what to expect and we have to win them over. We know from beat one, at the show in Minneapolis, they’re going to be with us.”
The group doesn’t stop at the shows — Blanchard said they also teach classes — from dance to beatboxing — and get the community moving. It’s their way of spreading the love.
Rhythmic Circus will perform Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21 at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis. For tickets or more information, click here. For more information about Rhythmic Circus — and their performances — check out their website.