As much fun as you can have in an hour of dance

Philadelphia Dance Projects presents Lily Kind’s I’ve got a tape I wanna play

3 minute read
Six dancers of different races and genders sit slouch on the floor around a table of boxes, pretending to eat morning cereal
Lily Kind, Chloe Marie, Chelsea Murphy, Maddie Hopfield, Dylan Smythe, and Elizabeth Weinstein in Kind’s ‘I’ve got a tape I wanna play.’ (Photo by Jano Cohen.)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Philly and London-based choreographer Lily Kind’s I’ve got a tape I wanna play, presented by Philadelphia Dance Projects at Christ Church Neighborhood House in late June. I first encountered Kind in her 2021 Wolfthicket, which had lots to like. There, she brimmed with star quality, but I had questions about some of her choices. It all came together in I’ve got a tape: the whimsy was honed down to a sly wit for about as much fun as you can have in an hour of dance.

Kind’s mix-tape was an eclectic potpourri that began with a Csardas, a Hungarian Jewish folk melody. As the soft grey light came up (Isabella Gill did the lighting design), Kind wandered out of the wings with a loose, easy gait, followed by Marquise Lindsey-Bradley on clarinet and Dylan Smythe, who sat on a box toward the back playing the pandeiro. I’d wanted more waacking last time, and Kind delivered, infusing the expressive arm movement with a loose-limbed dance sensibility. The dancing blended seamlessly with Lindsey-Bradley’s clarinet, which almost stole the show.

A shower and breakfast

Three numbers at the core of the performance turned Kind’s playful, sly eye on the less-than-glamorous lifestyles of the young urbanite. Dancer Chloe Marie was a standout in rapper Tierra Whack’s infectious Shower Song. Kind and Chelsea Murphy danced backup in a music-video-inspired, booty-bouncing celebration of singing in the shower while getting ready for the morning. In one bit, with the dancers in tight unison, I wondered if someone was going to put a ring on it.

The piece segued into breakfast when the rest of the small company in rehearsal clothes wandered out eating from cereal bowls. The smooth jazz of the 1930s song “Until the Real Thing Comes Along” (here, the 1960 Shirley Scot version, played on organ) set the mood as they gathered at center stage, slumped around a set of boxes that made a table, with a box of cereal to be sure we got the message: a lazy morning-after with the roomies. In a slow shim-sham in unison at the front of the stage, the dancers collected up their cereal bowls, all except one that Kind held close during the paired slow dancing, until a dancer took it away while the company formed up to the opening insinuation of Ravel’s Boléro.

Eclectic and hilarious

The postmodern feeling, informed by contemporary dance but set apart from it by a loose, improvisational style and an eclectic mix of social and jazz dance, suited the humor that reached its height in Boléro. Kind’s choreography winked at the historically impassioned interpretations while embracing the piece’s overt sexuality.

It began with the company in tight formation, hip to crotch, arms linked like the coupling rods of a locomotive that moved to the strident beat of the music while they slow-walked across the stage. The rumba box-step sequence, in unison, was so rhythmically compelling that I felt mesmerized, though the impassive delivery contrasted wittily with the growing urgency of the music. Just as it seemed the dance had found its choreographic through-line, however, the company broke up, as if, rehearsal over, it was time to check imaginary phones, swiping left. The dance gave us a cool, almost remote, sexuality that didn’t look for grand passion, just a—possibly hopeless—search for some reasonably good sex. It was hilarious.

With one-hour performances, Philadelphia Dance Projects's Dance Up Close series gives lesser-known artists a chance to explore their vision. It was the perfect length for Kind’s sometimes silly, but very funny view of contemporary life. The sold-out house enjoyed every minute, and if you missed it, you can still watch it here.

What, When, Where

I’ve got a tape I wanna play. Choreography by Lily Kind. Presented by Philadelphia Dance Projects. $20. June 26-27, 2024, at Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N American Street, Philadelphia. (215) 546-2552 or


Christ Church Neighborhood House is a wheelchair-accessible venue. The cobblestones outside the entrance may be difficult for some people to navigate.

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