x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

The lowdown on Madonna's dance crew for her world tour

Cady and fellow crew member Megan Lawson have choreographed the entirety of Madonna's MDNA tour, bringing their aesthetic, sense of humour and rhythm to the stage.

Fanny Pak perform during America's Best Dance Crew. Bucci / PictureGroup
Fanny Pak perform during America's Best Dance Crew. Bucci / PictureGroup

These neon lunatics are …

A contemporary dance troupe, busting technicolour hip-hop moves and making a sizeable ruckus in their meteoric rise to fame. Fanny Pak is headed up by 26-year old Matt Cady who formed the crew while teaching at the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio in Hollywood. There are now 10 of them, hailing from the US, Japan and Canada, following humble beginnings on the reality TV series America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC), where they came third in the second season. Cady and fellow crew member Megan Lawson have choreographed the entirety of Madonna's MDNA tour, bringing their aesthetic, sense of humour and rhythm to the stage.

Their credentials

For all the absurdity of their style, Fanny Pak are committed to who they are. That clearly rang true with Her Madgesty. Despite occasionally skirting the bottom end of the scoreboard for ABDC last season, Fanny Pak didn't tone down their outrageousness. In fact, with the likelihood of being ditched from the contest mid-season, the crew actually went even more left-field, with a strange Bollywood-inspired, neon meltdown on stage. And, for all their wackiness, Cady does have the credentials of an ambitious young choreographer.

What to expect

Visually speaking, imagine if The Klaxons were teleported back to the late 1980s and told they'd got the colours right but rave was out and preppy was very much in. Irony is the name of the game; everything so passé that it's adorable. We're yet to see what Fanny Pak's choreography brings to a Madonna gig, but the crew's slot on ABDC dancing to Girls Gone Wild was a crazed whirl of synchronised flailing, spinning mirrors and big individual personalities. It's theatrical, it's Glee, it whiffs of Madonna's Material Girl era. The crew are sure to do a fine job, come stage time.

The name

Well, the name refers to the little zip-up money pouch that was big in the 1980s for tourists to store their passport and foreign currency in while on holiday. In the UK, it's better known as a bum bag. Or a fashion abomination that somehow got ironically cool. The keenly 1980s naff-chic of the fanny pack feeds into FP's overall image of neon Frankie Says Relax T-shirts and lemon-coloured crewnecks. Incidentally, they hand out said garments to their fans and refer to each other as "Fannies".

The background since their launch in 2008

Working on everything from a Kardashian dance-off to Toni Braxton's music videos. FP came up with their own line of footwear for Milkshake Kicks!, an indie shoe company out of New York, in 2008. They worked with the Margot Fonteyn Academy of Ballet for a documentary, Fanny Goes to the Academy, and crafted an hour-long stage-show that debuted in Maine. The crew have also released their own album of tunes in 2009. District 78, which produces the music for ABDC, worked with the Fannies on this and introduced them to the likes of Taboo from Black Eyed Peas. Their debut EP hit the iTunes dance chart at number six. Its name? A Touch of Fanny

Online

The website www.fannypak.com has a wealth of videos, semi-ironic photoshoots and even a shop that, for some reason, doesn't actually sell fanny packs. Look the part by raiding the gift shops in out-of-date hotels.

Matt Cady and Megan Lawson of Fanny Pak will choreograph Madonna's stageshow on Sunday and next Monday at the du Arena, Abu Dhabi.