IMPRESSIONS: Pocket Fuel Groovers in “The Strides” at Triskelion Arts
November 18-20 at Triskelion Arts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
The first original evening length performance by The Pocket Fuel Groovers featuring pre-show DJ set from DJ Scenick Roots.
Choreography and text: Nick Alselmo and Company.
Performers: Nick Alselmo, Justin Bowen, Madison Elliott, Molly Gray, Jenna Rae Smith, Xavier Townsend
DJ: DJ Scenick Roots
Music: Souleance, new order, Les Sins, Cookin Soul, Javelin, Roisey, Brock Berrigan, Leon Vynehall, Mvzonik, Goldmund, Bobby Analog, Bibio, Letherette, Dirty Art Club, Grizzly Bear, Flying Lotus & Knxwledge.
Pocket Fuel Groovers are there for us, with us. It is heart-warming to experience a young collective taking the reins to create movement for social change, and The Strides is an exciting indicator of the trajectory that this new group is on. Their inaugural performance opened space for all of us to take the next step together.
I set foot onto Triskelion Arts’s black marley floor under dim lights. House music plays as Jenna Rae Smith and Madison Elliot , two women with well-oiled joints groove, their socked feet gliding easily across the floor. (If more people were dancing and the lights were a little lower, I would succumb to the urge to join.) The grooving young women, preparing for the show on stage, stretch and talk about their bodies being sore and tight from dancing.
In blasts Xavier Townsend from upstage right. He's full of energy and ready to get the party started. “DJ, hit play!” he calls over the heads of the audience to DJ Scenick Roots in his booth.
“Stop! Wait for Nick,” the women respond.
Townsend playfully antagonizes the duo with smooth transitions between Krump, modern, and break dancing, humorously engaging with the audience while spurring his fellow dancers into a movement flow. They catch, release, and sync together like a trio of jazz musicians.
“What are you doing?” The music stops as Nick Alsemo, team captain of Pocket Fuel Groovers, appears upstage center. Glaring, he points at Elliot and Rae Smith, insinuating they are the culprits and the duo shoot him a look as if to say, “Really?!”
Whoever is to blame, this is not how Alsemo had planned to introduce the Pocket Fuel Groovers. He clears the stage demanding Justin Bowen take over the DJ Booth. Then, taking to the mic like an announcer at a professional basketball game, Bowen introduces each player by their last name as they make their entrance sporting Pocket Fuel jerseys and sweatpants. Let the games begin!
Watching Pocket Fuel Groovers move, I instantly recognize they have ups! Launching themselves into the air, they hang there for a moment before landing in step with the music. The fusion of athleticism and grace is stunning to witness. Solos offer moments to connect to the artists not only as fine dancers, but as people. I find myself relating to each performer while also appreciating the group's team strength. In my mind they are all MVPs.
Akin to commercial breaks on the radio, scenes of dialogue occasionally appear. I can't help correlating the company's name—Pocket Fuel Groovers—to a portable, fun-sized radio. As a performance, The Strides feels like a small program to groove to, one that gives you the boost of energy you needed.
The dancers make eye contact, grin at us, share personal heartfelt stories, tell jokes, then return to their game. The message being one of camaraderie and hope. While every person experiences a unique personal journey, together, we can hold space for one another and build a community where all are welcome.
I’m excited to see more from Pocket Fuel Groovers as they continue to evolve. Not only is their vibe infectious, but The Strides is clever in its use of dance, music, theatre, and sports—there’s something for everybody.