Posted Wed., Sep. 3 2008

By Merilyn Jackson

Way Up High. Loose Screws is a wonderful name for a tap-dance company, referring as it does to the screws on tap shoes that must be loose enough to let the taps jiggle and click. Would that it also applied to the sensibility of the company’s artistic director, Jenn Rose, composer and associate director Dan Kazemi, and associate artistic director Megan Nicole O’Brien. Their show at First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia on Tuesday was sweet, girly, even new-agey in its attempt to portray the story of the dancer who represented the color black and deconstruct it into the colors of the rainbow. Hence, the title Way Up High, an allusion to “Over the Rainbow.”

The directors also hyped their 50-minute show as “uninhibited, risk-taking and new” and said that it fused contemporary dance with tap. In fact, the first 20 minutes consisted of outdated noodling around with flung-out arms and distressed facial expressions before the tap shoes even came out. And when they did, they disappointed in this missed opportunity to take the floor by storm. The shoes kept coming on and off, the arms kept flinging out as the seven girls turned and leapt. The music droned on without the rhythms that inspire great tap. There was little jiggle, and no click.

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