Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial David Oyelowo on the Craft of Acting & Advice for Young Actors David Oyelowo on the Craft of Acting & Advice for Young Actors Official First Look Images from Detroit-Set indie drama ‘Wolf Who Cried Boy’ Official First Look Images from Detroit-Set indie drama ‘Wolf Who Cried Boy’ Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO First Look at CBS' 'Rush Hour' Series + Official Synopsis First Look at CBS' 'Rush Hour' Series + Official Synopsis 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

2013 Tribeca Film Review: "Flexing" Goes Mainstream in 'Flex is Kings'

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act April 20, 2013 at 12:56PM

I have always found the body-contorting dance form of street dancing, contemporarily known as “flexing”, to be a creative and exhilarating art form. The documentary Flex is Kings, directed by Deidre Schoo and Michael Beach Nichols, manages to reaffirm those original perceptions of the very competitive urban dance movement. However, aside from showcasing “flexing’s” relevance as a formal art form, Kings didn’t exceed my expectations as a feature documentary. Set in Brooklyn, East New York, Kings focuses on the lives of Jermaine "Flizzo" Clement and Jonathan "Jay Donn" George. Flizzo, a bearded, heavy-set dancer, distinguishes himself with a ‘punchline’ trick of a having a bird flying from his mouth. The film also documents Flizzo’s homelife: an unstable relationship and a newborn daughter. What resonates with his story is Flizzo’s passion for dancing and battling against all odds, especially when it comes his economic and personal woes. Jay Donn, another icon of the dance movement, lives with his mother and very supporting girlfriend. His story is the most touching and fascinating. Donn is hired by a dance company to star in a new adaptation of Pinocchio and gets a chance to tour Europe for the play. Donn is thrilled about the opportunity, and through practice and determination, he’s able to learn a choreographed routine and adapt to different styles of classical dance. One thing I have been curious about and which wasn’t covered in the documentary is the origin of flexing. I thought Flexing had its roots in hip-hop and 70/80’s breakdancing (although it certainly has to influence flexing); however, upon further research, "flex” is said to have evolved from the Jamaican dance “bruk-up”. The filmmakers missed an opportunity to make a more thorough documentary about the art form itself. Another frustrating aspect while viewing is some of the editing, which cuts away to the crowds throughout some of the most thrilling dance sequences during battle scenes. I would have also appreciated to have seen addressed, especially since the documentary is set in New York City, the lives of dancers who try to make ends meet dancing in trains, which is quite common. The documentary could perhaps serve best to banish stereotypes surrounding those who decide to partake in this subculture. They are hardly gangsters; this lifestyle helps these young men to escape a life of selling drugs, gang and street life, and hence allow for them to channel their emotions and express themselves creatively. It is unfortunate that the filmmakers didn’t delve more into the foundation and background of “flexing”. It would have also made for a more compelling documentary to showcase the dancers’ detailed footwork and overall technique. Yet, Flex is Kings is still recommended viewing. The dancing and ardent fervor of its subjects are enough to keep you engaged. Along with the documentary’s competent score and cinematography, Kings brings the “flexing” underground movement to mainstream audiences, who should be enlightened by the passion and ability of its main players. NEW Trailer: Flex Is Kings from Flex Is Kings on Vimeo.
1
Kings is Flex

I have always found the body-contorting dance form of street dancing, contemporarily known as “flexing”, to be a creative and exhilarating art form. The documentary Flex is Kings, directed by Deidre Schoo and Michael Beach Nichols, manages to reaffirm those original perceptions of the very competitive urban dance movement. However, aside from showcasing “flexing’s” relevance as a formal art form, Kings didn’t exceed my expectations as a feature documentary.

Set in Brooklyn, East New York, Kings focuses on the lives of Jermaine "Flizzo" Clement and Jonathan "Jay Donn" George. Flizzo, a bearded, heavy-set dancer, distinguishes himself with a ‘punchline’ trick of a having a bird flying from his mouth. The film also documents Flizzo’s homelife: an unstable relationship and a newborn daughter. What resonates with his story is Flizzo’s passion for dancing and battling against all odds, especially when it comes his economic and personal woes.

Jay Donn, another icon of the dance movement, lives with his mother and very supporting girlfriend. His story is the most touching and fascinating. Donn is hired by a dance company to star in a new adaptation of Pinocchio and gets a chance to tour Europe for the play. Donn is thrilled about the opportunity, and through practice and determination, he’s able to learn a choreographed routine and adapt to different styles of classical dance.

One thing I have been curious about and which wasn’t covered in the documentary is the origin of flexing. I thought Flexing had its roots in hip-hop and 70/80’s breakdancing (although it certainly has to influence flexing); however, upon further research, "flex” is said to have evolved from the Jamaican dance “bruk-up”. The filmmakers missed an opportunity to make a more thorough documentary about the art form itself. Another frustrating aspect while viewing is some of the editing, which cuts away to the crowds throughout some of the most thrilling dance sequences during battle scenes.

I would have also appreciated to have seen addressed, especially since the documentary is set in New York City, the lives of dancers who try to make ends meet dancing in trains, which is quite common. The documentary could perhaps serve best to banish stereotypes surrounding those who decide to partake in this subculture. They are hardly gangsters; this lifestyle helps these young men to escape a life of selling drugs, gang and street life, and hence allow for them to channel their emotions and express themselves creatively.

It is unfortunate that the filmmakers didn’t delve more into the foundation and background of “flexing”. It would have also made for a more compelling documentary to showcase the dancers’ detailed footwork and overall technique. Yet, Flex is Kings is still recommended viewing. The dancing and ardent fervor of its subjects are enough to keep you engaged. Along with the documentary’s competent score and cinematography, Kings brings the “flexing” underground movement to mainstream audiences, who should be enlightened by the passion and ability of its main players.


NEW Trailer: Flex Is Kings from Flex Is Kings on Vimeo.

This article is related to: Reviews, Documentary


Shadow & ActNewsletter