A member of a freestyle dance troupe that will perform in Columbus this month initially studied as a college premedical student, and his physician father dearly wanted him to be a doctor.
Bradley Rapier is indeed. But he practices as a “doctor of dance,” if you will, helping people find the heartbeat of freedom as they move and groove.
That’s included performing as part of two ensembles at Super Bowl halftime shows.
“We want everybody to feel that they can find their groove,” Rapier said, speaking by phone from his Los Angeles-area home. “And we show audiences how we interpret a rhythm.”
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Rapier, still an active and ambitious dancer at age 55, brings his nationally touring and much-televised Groovaloos troupe to the Columbus Area Arts Council’s free Live on the Plaza event June 16. The entertainment at the Bartholomew County Public Library plaza at 536 Fifth St. will feature a 75-minute show, titled “Find Your Groove,” from a group of nine dancers (including his wife, Joanie), including plenty of audience interaction, Rapier said.
The group, backed mostly by pieces of recorded musical tracks from artists ranging from James Brown to Michael Jackson to Justin Bieber, will perform on a vinyl-like, Marley floor laid over the plaza bricks.
“It’s not the move that’s important,” Rapier said more than once, adding that dancers focusing purely on technique eventually run out of moves. “It’s the groove. If you connect to that bigger thing, you can learn to be free, and that can change your life.”
That’s one reason why he and his counterparts are scheduled to do a presentation with at-risk young people at Bartholomew County Youth Services Center during the morning of June 16.
At Live On the Plaza, one part of the presentation will include an individual dancer interpreting how he or she hears each instrument in a song, from a guitar to a violin to percussion.
“We want people to see, ‘Wow, there’s so much different music in there,’” Rapier said.
Rapier, a native of rural Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada, found his groove in the early 1980s when a newfound high school friend introduced him to a bit of street dance. Later, at the University of Calgary, he planned to follow in his father’s medical footsteps.
Rapier had been a football and track star, and a top student. But his friend lured him into a troupe called Streetscape, dancing in TV commercials and variety shows. Rapier eventually made the arts his calling, embracing
Who: The Los Angeles-based street-style dance troupe the Groovaloos performing a 75-minute show at the Columbus Area Arts Council’s Live on the Plaza (in conjunction with the city of Columbus).
When: 7 p.m. June 16.
Where: Bartholomew County Public Library plaza, 536 Fifth St. in Columbus.
Information: 812-376-2539 or artsincolumbus.org.