Tag Archive: Molodi

In another collaborate performance dubbed “1230 Clownshow,” Molodi partnered with a several clowns (not 1,230–sorry), a couple mimes and a guy in a banana suit to put on an impressive and truly funny variety show. View details about the comedy show here, and read a review about one of the performances here.

And, as promised, feast your eyeballs on some exclusive photos. The images are also available as a Flickr set.

Note: the show covered by April Corbin (author of the review above) differed slightly from the one reported here. If we had seen the same one, there would most definitely be pictures of scantily-clad gold dudes stacked on top of each other on this site.

Trust me.


Hey there, sports fans. For anyone following this high-steppin’ group around, hit up Insurgo Bastard Theater on Karen Avenue at 12:30 tonight (wait–or tomorrow morning?) Anyway, snag tickets at 11:59 this evening and the show will be starting in half an hour.

And, of course, pop on back to the Inside (that’s cool-guy lingo for this site, just in case you were wondering) to see some exclusive photos.

Happy toe-tapping!

Molodi members were the Ambassadors of Rhythm to Hard Rock Café’s Ambassadors of Rock on Aug. 21. The body percussion group opened for the semifinals of Battle of the Bands, sponsored by Make Music Matter and held at the Hard Rock Café at 4475 Paradise Road.

Contrary to Vegas’ usual disregard for reasonable bedtimes, the show began at 10 a.m. on a Saturday. Given these perilous conditions, the audience was about as lively as can be expected.

Harmony Costa, Jason Nious, Antwan Davis and Chris Rutledge

“This is our version of a jam session,” member Jason Nious commented at the top of the show. He introduced the number, saying audiences like it “nice.” “But Molodi, we like it rough,” Nious continued with a smile.

So “nice and rough” became the compromise. And with seamless transitions, each of the four Molodi members got their two cents in about how they think this jam should go.

Antwan “Big Twan” Davis talked some beatbox smack at the top of the show, rendering the drum set behind him redundant with blitzing “boots” and “cats.”

House- and classically-trained dancer Harmony Costa followed shortly after, tossing hair out of her eyes and proving that she can both stomp out loud and dance quite well. The feminine funk was a nice counterpoint to the rest of the hard-hitting choreography.

Costa and Nious team up

However, perhaps the most entertaining part of these spots was watching the supporting dancers. Molodi has friendly competition down to an art, and it was grin-inducing to watch them give each other attitude, then suddenly swap places and forge new alliances.

The Hard Rock Café also had something to offer that many venues don’t: a pristine wooden floor, which is a luxury for dancers in general and tappers especially.

Chris Rutledge, after ducking upstage for a pair of tap shoes, jubilantly took advantage of this asset.

Rutledge telling you whassup

After the show, Rutledge spoke of the impact (no pun intended) that flooring has on a Molodi performance.

“It’s our instrument,” he said, continuing that he was thrilled when Hard Rock personnel let him tap on the bare floor.

Audibility can be an issue for more than just tap, though. Rutledge pointed out how much sound carried in the Café and explained what an advantage this is because body percussion is rarely amplified with a microphone.

Ultimately, the appeal of Molodi comes from the differences in its members. The dancers took full advantage of the spotlight and made no excuses about showing off and being themselves.

“Everybody’s bringing a different background,” Nious said. “We can do a 75 minute show because of these different backgrounds. We don’t bore the audience.”

It's Molodi, what?

Nious continued that this versatility makes their work ideal for opening acts, such as the one at the Hard Rock. Nonetheless, members Nious and Rutledge agreed that full-length productions are their forte.

“We’re sweating buckets  [with full productions],” Nious said. “We’re not just giving you straight technical stuff. We get to showcase personality.”

To catch Molodi in hand-clapping action, trot up to the Insurgo Theater on Sep. 3 and 4 for their signature show at 12:30 a.m.

To find out more about the Battle of the Bands, check out the Ambassadors of Rock homepage.

Make Music Matter is an organization partnered with the Clark County School District to bring and keep music in public schools. Find them on Facebook and see what they’re about!

A tap dancer, a hand percussionist and a human beat box walk into a bar. The bar has no stools  and the wall behind it is covered with cryptic graffiti in gratuitously bright colors. Oh, and it’s on a stage. Did I forget to mention that?

Welcome to the Insurgo Bastard Theater and a Molodi show, complete with unpredictability and a nod to the avant garde.

Molodi, a group of performers specializing in extreme body percussion, was started in 2000 by Jason Nious and is a diverse faction to begin with. However, the one-night performance on May 20 showcased more than their classic “Raw Footage” showcase. (Their signature show had been performed early that night.)

Also featured was the group’s experimental dive into the world of collaboration through a show called “Molodi Presents,” showcasing the work of other performers throughout Las Vegas.

Guest artists included Harmony Costa’s group Soul Steppers, specializing in house and featuring members with such credits as “Stomp,” “Stomp Out Loud,” and Cirque du Soleil’s “LOVE.”

Hand percussion, audible (and visual) tap, beatboxing, a vocal performance and a stint of acting games lent the show a vibrant and multi-faceted personality. Themes ranged from the chill grooves of house to the competitive edge between tap and percussion to the simple thrill of listening to a skilled beat-boxer jamming in the dark.

The program for “Molodi Presents” outlined a seemingly sparse three pieces, but the show itself was riddled with Easter eggs of an endearingly miscellaneous nature.

Antwan Davis’ fierce beatboxing segued into “The Footprints,” a piece performed by Chris Rutledge that made use of the mysterious blue tarp and sheets of white paper that had been situated in front of the stage since the top of the show.

Temporarily deepening the mystery, two paper plates were added to the strange set, acting as vessels for paint in Rutledge’s signature color scheme of green and black. Rutledge cleared up the confusion in short order, dipping his taps into the paint intermittently, then finger-painting tap-style on the sheets of paper.

Rutledge’s sharp personality and wicked grin sparkled for the audience seated not ten feet away as he illustrated the pleasant dissonance of sophisticated rhythm paired with a gritty upper body.

Can you do single wings on a square of paper in paint-covered tap shoes, doubled over at the waist with your hands nearly touching the floor? I can’t. Chris Rutledge can though, and he’ll make it look easy.

“Man vs. Machine,” the second piece in the showcase, armed three different instruments with rhythmic weapons and pitted them against one another, acting out the classic struggle between human nature and simulations of the same.

Davis appeared again, illustrating his body percussion chops against Cayce Andrew’s nonchalantly blitzing hand percussion. Rutledge, still in paint-spattered shoes, joined the fun midway through the piece, adding a higher pitch and quirky syncopations.

Contrary to the oppositional title, the number couldn’t help but demonstrate the complexity of rhythms, and performers, working together, and how truly stunning this can be when done well.

The Soul Steppers kicked off the last piece with an unassuming entrance from the back of the house, grooving through the audience and increasing the camaraderie felt between artist and observer.

Distinct house-style music pulsed through a piece of turn-taking, with each performer soul-stepping forward and showing the personalities that mingle in the group.

Members Harmony Costa, Ricky Barraza Jr., Tal Iozef, Louross Edralin, Lamont Thomas and Christine Delota emphasized the versatility of house-style dancing, often melding it with personal strengths like locking, b-boying and hip-hop.

Interspersed throughout “Molodi Presents” were vignettes of acting games, improvised on the spot, always humorous and often bordering on inappropriate.

Take “Stand, Bend and Sit,” for example, in which each of the three actors must be performing one of the movements in the title while improvising a real-life scene. The context for the game? The set of a porn film which, given, is probably a real life scene for somebody. Fair enough.

These are the kids that were staging shows in their backyards and tapping the grade-school cafeteria table in time with the music in their heads. Strangely, the same atmosphere still persists: the performance proves to be not only a collaboration between the artists onstage but a conduit of energy between the performers and the audience as well.

It helps that the first row of seats is about ten feet away from the edge of the stage, close enough to see nuances in a performer (and, unfortunately, to hear the slide and click of the rag-tag lights’ mechanisms, one of the very few flaws of the show.)

A slightly nervous vibe prevailed during some of the acting games as the audience was drawn into the “who will be next?” environment familiar to performers asked to improvise.

Overall, cardinal sins of dance concerts were avoided: “Molodi  Presents” was under an hour and a half and the audience was very much included in the show,  side-stepping the common phenomenon of “fish-tank” performances  (where the audience merely watches.) A sense of candidness and experimentation prevailed, making the experience endearing and delightful.

My advice for any stomp-style show at the Insurgo Theater?

Watch your toes.