DNA Comedy’s ‘We Real Grown’ at Triskelion Arts

Bust a move and a gut: ‘Comedy in Dance’ fest features grooving grannies

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Did you hear the one about the dancers who wanted to make their audience laugh?

On April 3, Brooklyn comedy-dance collective DNA Comedy will combine both art forms on stage when its members dress up as old ladies in muumuus and dance to Beyonce’s “Grown Woman” as part of Triskelion Arts’s annual “Comedy in Dance Festival” in Williamsburg.

“We dress like little old ladies but we’re very fierce and sexy old ladies, even though we are older,” said Downtown resident Denae Hannah, the founder of DNA Comedy.

Expect to see choreography from a Beyonce concert, but reinterpreted for the physical limitations of senior citizens, said Hannah. The performance is meant to make audiences laugh, but it is also a tribute to the older women in the dancers’ lives who can still cut a rug.

“A lot of us still have elderly women in our families who are still doing it,” said Hannah, who has studied both performance and choreography at Florida State University and improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Many of the muumuus the dancers will be wearing on stage are also hand-me-downs from their grandmothers and aunts, she added.

In addition to the group’s grooving grannies, the performance, titled “We Real Grown,” was also inspired by dance troupe “the Fly Girls” from ’90s sketch comedy series “In Living Color,” Hannah explained.

“I thought about how the Fly Girls are old now and how it’d be funny if we were actually old. It’s like a sort of parody,” she said.

DNA Comedy is one of 29 companies chosen to perform at the annual festival, now in its fifth year. One of the organizers said it is difficult to find dancers who can land a joke as well as they can land a pirouette.

“Choosing the acts is fun, but very challenging because conveying comedy in writing is nearly impossible,” said Abby Bender, artistic and executive director at Triskelion Arts. “It’s a gamble, since the majority of the pieces are new, so I’m seeing them for the first time just as the audience is.”

When she saw DNA Comedy’s piece, however, there was no doubt in her mind.

“I laughed out loud. It was a shoo-in,” said Bender. “I enjoy its sense of playfulness. The performers are getting down. They look ridiculous and the fun is contagious.”

DNA Comedy’s “We Real Grown” at Triskelion Arts, Aldous Theater [118 N 11th St., third floor, between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 599–3577,]. April 3 at 8 pm. $15.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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