"Life isn't choreographed. Sometimes you gotta go freestyle."
-- From Groovaloo Freestyle
What makes a doctor's son from a Canadian Rockies rodeo town think he can make a living street dancing?
Bradley Rapier of Calgary isn't just getting by collecting dollars and quarters in a hat while he break-dances on the sidewalk. That may be how many Long Islanders experience street dancing. But this hip-hop art form has gone legit. Saturday night, Rapier and his troupe, the Groovaloos, bring the national tour of "Groovaloo Freestyle" to Stony Brook.
Of course, a tour doesn't just sprout from nowhere. But the Groovaloos - despite years of preparatory work by founder and director Rapier - are as close to overnight sensations as, say, Susan Boyle. It's been just over a year since the Groovaloos shot to national attention by winning NBC's "Superstars of Dance" competition. That led to Vegas and L.A. gigs and eventually a show at New York's Joyce Theater, followed by a five-week holiday run at Off-Broadway's Union Square Theatre.
"Groovaloo Freestyle" lays a storytelling groove, if you will, for each soloist in the show - like "A Chorus Line," only these dancers are eye-popping athletes with moves that appear impossible outside the realm of special effects.
We chatted with Rapier by phone en route from Indianapolis to Appleton, Wis.
What was the turning point in your career path from medicine to dance?
I was a dean's list student - dance was a hobby. But I was offered a deal and signed for a year's tour, thinking, I can't make a career of this, really? But then I won Canadian talent search, moved to L.A., stayed in a friend's attic and trained on the streets. All I had were tap shoes and tights. There's no hip-hop scene where I come from.
How did your show play in Muncie, Ind., and Paducah, Ky.?
At first, there's a disconnect. But there's a much stronger response in some respects. The audience stands up sooner and they're louder. I guess because they're not saturated.
Your "Superstars of Dance" performance is still a YouTube hit. Was that your breakthrough moment?
It was transformational. Even before we won, it was amazing that Nigel Lithgoe picked us to represent America.
And you're not even American.
It was surreal to me.
WHAT "Groovaloo Freestyle," a hip-hop, street-dancing take on "A Chorus Line"
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Saturday at Staller Center, Stony Brook University
INFO $38; stallercenter.com, 631-632-2787