NEW YORK (AP) — It's the ultimate mashup of athleticism and theater — the Harlem Globetrotters have teamed up with "Stomp."
In a 2-minute, high-energy collaboration filmed at a New York City playground earlier this month, four towering Globetrotters joined eight members of the off-Broadway fixture to show off their skills.
In the video, the performers dribble in rhythm, pass and fold into each other. The Globetrotters do complicated dunks and plenty of finger spins, while the "Stomp" dancers make a soundtrack with basketballs. It was all captured in one take.
"They were great. They were very supportive. I felt like we were on the same team, all working together," said Stephanie Marshall, a New Yorker who worked up a sweat with her fellow "Stomp" stars.
The video was shot at the William F. Passannante Ballfield in the West Village with a three-axis, gyroscopic-stabilized hand-held MoVI camera. It took seven takes to get the one everyone agreed was flawless.
The video shoot had to compete with ambulance sirens, truck honks and dozens of shrieking school kids. To make matters worse, clouds gathered and the threat of rain was real.
The result is a treat for anyone who fantasizes about more dribbling in "Stomp!" or more dancing at the Globetrotters' show.
The collaboration might initially sound odd until you realize that the Globetrotters, who soon embark on a 90th anniversary tour, have always had a little showmanship to their act, and "Stomp" loves making music out of random things.
"For years, we've had a basketball routine as part of 'Stomp,'" said Steve McNicholas, who co-created the show in 1991 with Luke Cresswell and watched the Globetrotters admiringly. "But what these guys can do with basketballs is stunning. A different league."
The four Globetrotters were "Bull" Bullard, "Firefly" Fisher, "Cheese" Chisholm and "Handles" Franklin. All wore their iconic red, white and blue uniforms with red Adidas 773 Derrick Rose high tops. The "Stomp" performers were in chic street clothes, their color palette mostly grays and blacks.
Chisholm, who also is from New York but attended Ball State University, never saw "Stomp" but came away impressed by the collaboration. "It's like 50-50," he said. "They're actually really talented and so are we."
The playground is used by nearby schools and the video shoot had to handle shifts of middle-schoolers coming out for recess and gaping at the giant men. At one point, they surrounded Franklin.
"Who's the hardest worker at school?" he asked them as hands went up. Later he tried to slap as many palms as possible. "I need some fives!" he said and twirled a basketball ball on one kid's finger. The children lined up and got autographs.
With the shoot finished, the two sets of performers hugged. Marshall said this about a sort of crazy assignment: "This is the norm for us. This is what we do. We put ourselves in random places and make music out of random props. So this is kind of par for the course."
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YhQwsw03yk&feature=youtu.be
Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits