Student-run organizations came together last Thursday to put on an incredible display of cultural wealth through dance with a motley of performances. From rhythmic salsa dancing to American urban hip-hop flair, these dances were incredibly well-done.
909 Hip-Hop Dance Troupe was the first to entertain the crowd. Immediately noticeable were their meticulously crafted set design and costumes. The theme was hard to identify at first because of the vast variety in the color scheme, and added a lot of theatrics and unorthodox dance moves to captivate the audience. They danced with intensity at first, but later they successfully integrated other styles of dancing, ultimately giving the crowd something to marvel about.
In a change of pace, Salsiente took center stage to wow the audience with Latin flavor. The ladies wore long pastel dresses while the men wore buttoned-up tops with slacks. Their appearance was the first selling point of the performance as they glided across the stage with an admirable grace. Every member of the group wore tap dance shoes, which were an integral part of the performance and added ambience to the already alluring Latin music in the background.
Noticing the restlessness of the audience halfway through the show, Katipunan, a Filipino cultural group, brought the audience out of their trance with a showstopping performance. They performed a dance called Tinikling that incorporated bamboo shoots in which the dancers would athletically dance in pairs through and around the bamboo shoots that clapped to the beat. Every little aspect of the performance was done with vigor and they paid great homage to the Philippines.
In a contrast with the nimble and light nature of Katipunan’s Tinikling piece, the Nigerian Student Association answered their performance with a very earthy piece. They stayed stationary in a two-line diamond formation and performed dances that incorporated a lot of body swaying and constant use of the arms. One cool thing to note about the performance was that they added modern dance moves like the whip dance that’s become popularized in America via Vine. At one point, the girls all did little freestyle dances in a singular fashion, which the crowd enjoyed.
Ballet Folklorico and their intricate footwork made the performance memorable. The authenticity was their strong point and the audience was equally impressed as shown through their yells and cheers.
One of the most impressive pieces of the night came from the Swing Club who gave a stunning performance of the art of swing. The female and male lead jived and shimmied across the stage in sync as they incorporated tap dancing into the routine. They were in perfect harmony, and the chemistry between the two was organic enough to make them look like experts. Having jazz in the background to set the tone and gave the performance an added awe.
The Illerside B-boys were a welcome addition. This set was heavily reliant on each individual’s breakdancing abilities and the four of them all took turns as they cheered on their teammates in freestyle. Sustained handstands while methodically kicking out their feet, acrobatic flips and swirling on the floor made for an awesome sight to see, and the audience was impressed. Despite the performance being entirely freestyled, there was still a subtle cadence to the dancing because of the continuity of each of their moves. They all moved in harmony, despite seeming to be in their own worlds.
Collective Faction was the penultimate performance of the night and expectations were high. By taking songs from various eras of popular music, most notably “Pony” by Ginuwine, and “Lifestyle” by Rich Homie Quan, they brought the whole house down with amazing energy. They were completely in sync and their performance was very clean, devoid of any blatant errors or mistakes. They transitioned from a slower style of dancing and morphed into a fast-paced piece that relied on all parts of the body. They looked really into the performance, giving the audience jolts of excitement.
In a featured performance, the renowned LA-based group Kinjas took to the stage. All the previous performers immediately hurried into the audience to gain a good vantage point of them. Every move was cold and calculated but done with an enthusiasm that just made everyone’s mouth agape. They moved as one unit and incorporated flips and body rolls, which made some members of the audience swoon. Nobody’s eyes wandered throughout the set, and I’m pretty sure no one even wanted to blink. By the time it was over, we all sat in our seats in awe before the room burst into thunderous applause.
This display of multicultural passion was a big part of why the event was consistently fun and charged with pep. I enjoyed learning about various cultures through dance and the art of physicality, and I took multiple lessons as I walked out of the theatre with a newfound perspective of the dance world.