Dance theorists have long deliberated over our Western tendency to legitimize dance forms by measuring them against the familiar aesthetics of ballet, but if a packed house at The Granada Theatre on Tuesday last week was any indication, the times they are a-changing. Making his West Coast debut on the night of his 44th birthday, French choreographer Kader Attou and his Compagnie Accrorap unveiled their particular flavor of hip-hop in one unrelenting, heart-pumping wave to an enthralled crowd that was on its feet before the last chords of Diaphane’s haunting score faded into the background. Curating through a series of pedestrian vignettes (guy in an easy chair playing records/guys hanging around a dining-room table), Attou injected humanity into the superhuman capabilities of 11 wholly diverse dancers, who rolled in and out of highly technical sections that underscored their movement expertise and tangible passion for the incomparable art of toprock and breaking.
What was once a cultural dance language fueled by the African-American and Latino communities of New York in the early 1970s has since reached cult status, spreading across some of the most prestigious stages and studios around the globe and securing its rightful place in the history of influential dance techniques. In The Roots, Attou revealed his own intimate discovery of hip-hop, a coming-of-age story filled with reflections over tribal mentality and the confidence to move boldly against the grain. The results were nothing short of legit.