Review: ‘Anima/Darkroom’: the Krump we all need and deserve

Solo show by Krump artist 7Starr brings street dance to the stage

(Photo Credit: Do Phan Hoi)

Théâtre LaChapelle’s black box is nearly stripped bare for “Anima/Darkroom”, where Krump and theatre intersect in the most beautiful ways. Krump is a highly energetic kind of street dance born in Los Angeles in the early 2000s. Different from other hip-hop styles, but also alike in some ways, Krump is pretty dramatic so this colliding of worlds actually makes a lot of sense. “Anima/Darkroom” is the fruit of a collaboration between movement artists Lucy M. May and 7Starr. It delves into the gap between loneliness and communion and paints a powerful picture of longing for connection and understanding.

This solo show is performed by renowned Krump dancer 7Starr, who began the evening by sharing with the audience his newfound obsession with “dad jokes”. He then told a few of his own, and gave us a “Creole 101” crash course so that we’d understand the joke (just to make sure we at least have the ability to find it funny). Get this: not only is he a truly incredible dancer, he is also kind of funny and extra charismatic. But when he started to move, none of that mattered anymore; only the wonder of the human body, it’s potential to move itself and to move others. It is easy to see why 7Starr is at the forefront of the Canadian Krump scene: his agility and attention to detail are highly impressive, many would probably settle for just watching him show off, but his sensitivity and passion make for something much more satisfying than that. “Anima/Darkroom” is a non-narrative collection of snapshots into a life of infinite complexity; there is a darkness to it, a violence even, but also something uplifting, a gentle kind of empowerment. All of these co-exist inexplicably onstage in this carefully crafted environment the artists invite us into. The outcome is a unique emotional experience that cannot adequately be put into words, fittingly portrayed through the unparalleled power of dance.


(Photo Credit: Do Phan Hoi)

7Starr urges the audience to “pay attention”, with our eyes and our ears, and it is honestly impossible not to. Every moment of the hour-long solo show has every spectator hanging onto his every move – from the most outward display of aggression to the smallest vibration of a finger – with the utmost investment and curiosity. His performance is supported and enhanced by the masterful work of the lighting and sound designers and technicians. The whites and reds of Jon Cleveland’s lighting are simple and effective. The multi-faceted soundscape made of Krump beats by Big Rulez and music by Patrick Conan breathes even more life into the already lively and raw performance. The evocative facial expressions 7Starr contorts into, the sound of his breath, the drops of sweat on his forehead; every last detail is granted a purpose, everything is coordinated and put to good use.

“Anima/Darkroom” is an entrancing work of art that brings street dance onto the stage and makes it feel right at home. The performer is endlessly engaging, in speech and in silence, in movement and in stillness, and even in absence. This is a chance to witness something truly special.



Performances: Sep. 26 – 27 – 20 and Oct. 1, 2019
Venue: La Chapelle (700 St Dominique St, Montreal)
Admission: $15 – 30
Box Office: (514) 843-7738
https://lachapelle.org/en/schedule/animadarkroom

Violette Kay

Theatre Reviewer at Montreal Theatre Hub
Violette Kay is a playwright, director and multidisciplinary performer, alumna of John Abbott College's theatre program, Imago Theatre's ARTISTA, and Playwrights' Workshop Montreal's Young Creators Unit. Recent credits include James and Ziggy (Tantalus, Montreal Fringe), The Order of the Poor Ladies (Revolution They Wrote), Amuse Me (Tantalus) and Adoration (Tantalus/Studio Porte Bleue). Violette is also a proud contributor to the administrative functioning of Geordie Theatre, École Musique Active and the Rose Festival. You might also find her busking at your local metro station, puppeteering various household objects, or otherwise channeling her bitterness into art.
Violette Kay

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