"I should have learned to tap-dance." That's what you might find yourself thinking while watching Feet Don't Fail Me Now, the heart-pounding music-and-dance show running at the New Victory Theater. Kids, on the other hand, will likely beg parents for a pair of tap shoes.
The aptly named Rhythmic Circus, a troupe of talented hoofers from Minnesota, has paired up with seven-piece band Root City and the "human beatbox" Aaron "Heatbox" Heaton. Together they put on an exuberant, toe-tapping, hand-clapping hour of music and dance that adults will enjoy as much as kids.
The program comprises 14 numbers that jauntily bounce from bluesy guitar riffs at the beginning of "Dream Song" to the intoxicating Latin beat of "Salsa." Most of Root City's songs are accompanied by Rhythmic Circus' tap dancing, while "Heatbox" takes part in a little bit of everything, in addition to his own acts.
All of the pieces are unique and exciting, but a few stand out. Heatbox's solos are two of them. His performances — which involve mimicking the sounds of everything from a DJ scratching to the instruments of an orchestra, then sampling them all to create intricate, multi-voice songs — have to be experienced to be believed.
Also among the audience favorites is "Study Hall," a frenetic and fun example of percussive music using nothing but chairs and hands. The "Salsa" number features some of the wildest, most impressive tapping you're likely to see anywhere. And the title piece, "Feet Don't Feel Me Now," which bookends the show, combines the talents of the band, the dancers, and Heatbox with exhilarating, feel-good lyrics that bring you to your feet.
Though music and sound naturally play a part in the show, the visually compelling numbers, accentuated by Mark Ruark's stylized lighting, will delight deaf and hearing-impaired kids too. The eye-catching performances, colorful and frequently changed costumes, and silly shenanigans fill the stage with an irresistible, palpable energy.
For the final number, the band and the dancers ask everyone in the audience to get up, clap their hands, and dance. When it was all over, a young lady, who looked about 10 years old, stood applauding next to me and cried out, "That was the best show ever!" I have to say, it's right up there.