One of the weirdest things about Boston College’s Arts Festival is that two of the three days it’s celebrated are school days. Some events that students might want to see are awkwardly scheduled in the middle of the day, when many of us might have class or work to be doing. In spite of its awkward timing, however, Thursday afternoon’s Dance Showcase, which brought together many of BC’s finest dance crews in an hour-long compilation, saw a horde of students piling into the O’Neill Plaza tent, pining for a seat for the epic mash-up of ensembles and styles.
It’s rare sight to see a step group like Sexual Chocolate perform in the same set as Full Swing, or to see Full Swing grace the stage before a BC Irish Dancing performance. One might think the viewers had gathered for a lesson on the history of dance, rather than a melange of BC’s dance groups. The contrasting styles and music found throughout the Dance Showcase, on the other hand, provided the set with a variability that kept each dance number refreshing and highlighted the distinct characteristics of each of the groups and their members.
While the whole range of performances seen Thursday afternoon each made their own lasting impression on the audience, there were a few numbers of particular note. With its first Robsham show earlier this semester, Full Swing’s two dances demonstrated the group’s popularity with BC audiences, as well its showmanship. Donned in snazzy dress attire, Full Swing’s performers played out a dance contest to Duke Ellington’s “Diga Diga Doo.” After a few other groups had gone, another assortment of Swing members took to the stage with Grease’s “You’re the One that I Want.” Seeing the Pink Ladies and T-Birds come together in an epic swing number was exhilarating, and encouraged the audience to sway along with Full Swing.
Despite more than a few technical issues that plagued the beginning of their first number, the Golden Eagles showed the crowd that their talent wasn’t only confined to football fields in the fall. With two performances, one set to The Chainsmokers “Roses,” the other to Olafur Arnalds’ “Near Light,” the Golden Eagles gave two very different performances. Their “Roses” number seemed very much in tune with the pop-themed style the group is used to performing at games, but the “Near Light” number gave the audience a much subtler facet of the group. Akin to the interpretive dance in Napoleon Dynamite, the Golden Eagles’ “Near Light” dance gave viewers a glimpse of the more tranquil end of the spectrum of the group’s versatility. With two very different dance styles on display, the Golden Eagles made it clear to the audience that they are more than just a typical sports dance squad.
The afternoon also saw a few themed dance numbers that were both entertaining and well executed. Draped in basketball jerseys and athletic shorts, Phaymus jogged onto the stage for a basketball-themed romp set to songs like Meek Mill’s “R.I.C.O.” and Lil Bow Wow’s “We’re Playing Basketball” (because if Phaymus didn’t include this in its basketball-themed set, it would be a grave crime). Last up in the Dance Showcase was Uprising, which reached back to the pirate era for its dance number with dubstep pirate remixes and pirate-skirmish interludes.
Both sets from Phaymus and Uprising were fast-paced, intricate, and well choreographed for their length, but each set felt a little long and it was easy to get distracted from what was happening on stage, when it felt like the audience had seen the same dance put to five different songs. Despite their arduous lengths, the performances from Uprising and Phaymus made distinct and entertaining impressions on the program, adding a component that stretched beyond the more conventional dance numbers from other Dance Showcase groups.
Thursday afternoon’s Dance Showcase sort of speaks for a lot of Arts Fest as a whole. Many of BC’s well-known dance crews and more obscure groups came together to show off a culmination of the work they have put into their routines over the year. While the more traditionally popular groups brought a strong following to cheer them on, the so-called underdogs of the afternoon seemed to give the stronger, better-received performances. Though Full Swing, the Golden Eagles, Uprising, and Phaymus might not be considered the faces of the BC dance culture, these groups proved Thursday afternoon that they are just as formidable and dedicated to their craft as the more prominent dance crews of BC.
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor