Wharton Center Review: Antigravity

By Joe Walker  

        If Sir Isaac Newton developed the law of universal gravitation, then all 19 members of New York’s Team AntiGravity should be arrested.
    AntiGravity: The Tour performed its high powered, fully charged show before a mostly packed Cobb Great Hall audience in the Wharton Center on Tuesday, April 10. The gravity defying stunts that combine all the elements of gymnastics, dance, acrobatics, hip-hop, circus, aerial and extreme sports, left the audience breathless.
    Though the show is fun, energetic and full of glitz and spectacle, the performances demand incredible strength, balance, flexibility, endurance and precision. Think of it as a circus act (flying trapeze and the twirling rope performer), Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video and the Olympics’ gymnastics competition all wrapped up in one.
In the opening sequence, “In A World Full of People Only Some Want To Fly…,” the entire company poured onto the stage (the nine women dressed in white shorts and halter tops and 10 men wearing tank tops and white pants) bouncing on pogo sticks, tumbling, jumping ramps on skateboards, running like hamsters in oversized steel wheels, twirling in mid-air on suspended ropes, dancing on bungee cords and pop locking like break dancers all to the sounds of Seal’s techno version of Crazy.
    Every dimension of the stage in Cobb Great Hall is used and required to accommodate the enormous set complete with a grid, bungees, trampolines, a 15 foot high wall and oversized steel circles, squares and cubes. The equipment is a big part of the show like the performers because audience members constantly wonder, ‘what are they going to do with that next?”
    “It’s really cool,” said Jerry Hamblin, 24, of East Lansing. “They’re involved. They’re active. They are just having fun and it makes you want to be a part of it.”
    Make no mistake. This is amazing physical stuff and no one wants to try these stunts at home. Every performer works without a net. Take Devon Gery’s performance called ROPE “Entanglement in Buenos Aires.” Gery, 25, is vertically suspended high in the air on a rope near the center of the stage as she spins or is spun by her partner Danilo Lambo. Her performance takes trust, strength and incredible control.
    “We like to inspire people,” Gery said. “We want to inspire people to workout, stay healthy and focus on their dreams.”
    Ever dream of flying? In HAMMOCKS “Dancing in the Sheets,” Emily Rosch, Mandy James Morgan and Christye Balfanz flew and twirled high in the air while dancing inside white sheets that were folded like hammocks.
    The six men of “X-dream” were the most jaw dropping performance as they jumped from atop a 15 foot wall that bisected the stage onto a trampoline on either side and bounced back up onto the wall only to fall again to the other side. The six men played off each others moves as they bounced, jumped and flipped like ping pong balls from one side of the wall to the other creating a rhythmic sequence. And they did it all in sync to the sounds of Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky.”
    The most endearing performances were those of the Lombard Twins who throughout the show used soft tap and synchronized hip-hop dance moves to win the heart of a young lady. The lanky twins, Martin and Facundo, moved their bodies like spaghetti. Inspired by Michael Jackson and James Brown, who dubbed them “The Soul Boys,” the twins executed dance moves that would make the King of Pop and the Godfather of Soul proud.
       “I love it,” said East Lansing’s Etsuko Barrows, who especially enjoyed the dancing and choreography. “Dancing that way keeps you in shape.”