Headstands, robot-like movements, locking and popping… the hip hop dance performance by French duo Aurelien Kairo and Abderzak Houmi had the audience laughing right through

Watching Aurelien Kairo and Abderzak Houmi perform is like watching two clockwork toys in action. Their moves are crisp, in sync with each other, and their comic timing, perfect. “We have been performing together for eight years,” says Abderzak who started the DeFakto dance company in 2002. He met Aurelien at a hip hop festival near Tours. They liked each other’s work and that’s how DeFakto became a two-member dance group.

The affable duo from France was in the city to perform at Alliance Francaise. Titled, Zak and Angelo, the performance is a blend of hip hop dance, mime and burlesque. According to the artistes, it’s one of those rare acts that has a mix of these three elements. Explaining the plot, Abderzak says, it talks of friendship between two persons and through their activities elucidates that what's important in life is not the objective but the path taken to fulfil it. The two friends are distinct in their mannerisms, characteristics and appearance. While Zak, the lively one of the two, is lean and with a head of very closely cropped hair, Angelo, the romantic dreamer is a tad portly with a mop of wavy hair. In the act, they start off as DJs; then become bartenders and finally end up in space as astronauts, where they tread about in slow motion, wearing bubble top water cans as masks on their heads.

The hour-long performance was simple and unpretentious. There were a few parts that seemed disjointed but then the endearing characters with their adorable acts ensured that those minor hiccups didn’t divert the audience away from the plot. At times it felt like watching the Three Stooges, sans the third one and, at times, they reminded us of Johnny Bravo. The background score oscillated between French tracks and Cartoon Network-like music. They did headstands, locking and popping, robot dance and Matrix-inspired stunt movements in slow motion.

At the end of the show while interacting with the audience, Aurelien said that what they do is not hip hop but hip hop dance. “At DeFakto we don’t just do hip hop. Each time we create a show, we mix an artistic genre with it. This time, it’s mime,” he says.

The auditorium was packed with people sitting on the floor and along the aisle. The first three rows on the floor were occupied by the pint-sized brigade in their frilly little dresses and matching hair clips. They giggled, squealed and clapped at the antics of Zak and Angelo, so did the 20-year-olds and the 60-somethings in the crowd.

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Priyadarshini PaitandyJune 28, 2012