Arts, On Campus

SEASA Dance Showcase Unites Facets of BC Dance Scene

hat everyone could pile inside. The excitement that defined the atmosphere in the lobby was palpable, as many students practiced their moves, silently singing to themselves, drowning out the overwhelming amount of noise in the room with their headphones. Others assembled for group photos in any free spaces that they could find. If anyone in that room was uncomfortable with the amount of people there, it at least wasn’t visible at all. The amount of genuine, big grins on everyone’s faces was, on the other hand, uncountable.

If the melange of students doing their gigs in the Murray Room lobby wasn’t a good enough show in it and of itself, the performance that soon followed this frenzy of motion and noise was inarguably so.

The best thing about collaborative dance shows at BC has always been the variance that such a collection of different dance types and groups cultivates. Friday’s Dance Showcase was no exception and, aside from the annual spring Showdown, it probably provided the widest array of dances that is ever seen in one show. Seeing groups like Masti and Boston College Irish Dance perform side by side is really a rare and delightful occasion, as the difference in styles and the variety of skills needed to perform each specific dance is more obvious than ever. These both larger and less pertinent details and differences in performances are what keep BC’s dance landscape evolving over time, as teams incorporate new styles into their routines, making new dances and new dance types. These changes are especially apparent when a viewer sees one dance among different styles, contextualizing the individual dance for the inexperienced eye.

SEASA and Conspiracy Theory came together to host their fourth annual Dance Showcase not just for the fun of it, but also for a great cause. The proceeds of the show went to Kamayan American Youth in Action, or KAYA, a program operating out of the YMCA in Lynn, Mass., that seeks to inspire kids to express themselves creatively and to be active members in their communities. The group also tutors children, gives college tours, and provides a space for kids to talk about the problems in their lives without facing judgment. Throughout the night, high school students involved in the program spoke, reading speeches that they had written for the occasion. These talks highlighted many of the great experiences that kids are open to having with KAYA and did a great job of contextualizing and promoting the organization that the evening’s ticket sales contributed to.

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While every separate performance Friday night was special in its own way and brought something unique to the stage, there were a few dances and teams that deserve special note.

Sporting Girl Scout garb, half of the team wearing pink shirts, the other half wearing white, F.I.S.T.S. put on a spectacular step-dance routine melded into a skit about competing Girl Scout chapters and their debate over where to sell the year’s cookies. Not only was this combination unique, but it was also very funny. The team’s moves are impressive enough, but this comedic aspect that the group injected into its set, both in the skit and in its dance, was masterfully balanced.

Though those that attend BC dance events have probably seen it before, Full Swing’s Grease dance, set to the iconic “You’re the One that I Want,” is undeniably fun and enthralling. While most are probably used to seeing many members on stage at any Full Swing dance, only six of the group’s dancers were on stage for this number. Fewer people did not equal a lesser performance, in this case. Just having six people perform the dance lent Full Swing’s set an intimacy that other groups throughout the night couldn’t necessarily boast. Sure, other groups performed with a similar number of people, but the close-quartered, romantic nature of Full Swing’s style was made even more apparent with just three couples on stage.

Speaking of tight spaces, some groups throughout the night seemed rather tightly positioned on the assembled stage, as this space is probably not as large as some of the spaces these groups work with. Some groups visibly had trouble with this, as there were some scary moments where it looked like dancers might just plunge off of the stage. At one point, a dancer did knock down a section of the curtain at the back of the stage.

Fuego, on the other hand, despite having a rather large ensemble, notably did not have any issues with this set-up. With the ladies dressed in bedazzled, shiny sequins and the men in their suave and graceful apparel, Fuego mashed elements of hip-hop with more traditional aspects of Mexican dance to deliver a pop-infused melting pot of dance styles to those in attendance. While the night generally was a perfect display of the variety present in the BC dance scene, Fuego was the perfect encapsulation of this aspect of SEASA’s Dance Showcase.

Between the huge amount of people pouring into the Murray Function Room, the expansive list of dance groups that made up the evening’s show, and the tight space these two groups of people had to work with, it’s easy to say that SEASA’s Dance Showcase was overwhelming. But this isn’t at all a bad thing. If there’s any facet of the BC arts community that should put on this kind of over-the-top performance and should draw in that large of a crowd, it’s the dance teams. This tightness shows perfectly just how devoted BC dancers are to their craft and how devoted their fans are. If people have to squeeze together to enjoy seeing and being a part of these dance groups, then that’s fine. The audience will survive to see another show.

Featured Images By Yi Zhao / Heights Staff

November 14, 2016