By BERNADETTE RAE
Fourteen effervescent young dancers, five established artists from Black Grace, a set of giant polystyrene blocks and an on-to-it DJ rock the poor old Concert Chamber to its foundations in Urban Youth Movement's third outing.
Artistic director Neil Ieremia has done the dance community another great service in taking a mixed group of young dance wannabes, switching on their creative juices and then getting them right out of their heads and into the physical business of moving.
Not that Escape is mindless - far from it. It tells a collection of stories, sourced in the company's collective memory, of experiences that all in some way beg escape. Everyone will remember those Sunday-afternoon outings in the family car ... the conflict of interests around the family dinner table ... the level 10 stress of maintaining the coolest chat-up lines.
Not everyone, at least not everyone whose midriff is past the age of wearing low-rise pants and cropped tops, will remember the anger, the hot frustration, that gives Escape its base note, its flaming colour, its fine sense of tension beneath all that joyous expression of adolescent life.
The characters on stage are instantly recognisable as our kids, that is, Auckland kids, predominantly from the south and the west.
They are bright, bursting with energy and beautiful. But it is quite plain that not only are they Urban Youth - they are urban warriors in a veritable urban battle zone. It wasn't always like that, was it? So hard-edged?
Urban Youth Movement are totally exhilarating and huge fun with their fast and furious mix of contemporary and street dancing, some live singing, and heaps of body percussion impressively performed. The Black Grace seniors are there, with an underlay of technical finesse, and as anchormen, looking positively paternal at times.
And everybody gets puffed - especially the old grandpops in the audience who try to rap and bebop all the way home.