By Rewon Shimray | Opinion Editor
The troupe dressed in polos and khakis left the audience laughing throughout the entire performance. Fiji lived up to their self-proclaimed title of “Movers and Groovers.” With layered choreography, the large group was well-coordinated. The songs varied in genres ranging from rock to country to pop. Although the narrative of songs did not necessarily match the theme or provide any overarching narrative, the performance was entertaining and continued to impress without a plot.
The curtains opened to a beautifully painted home interior. From the opener, it was a loud act — everyone on stage projected their voices in a very youthful tone of singing. The vocals of the choir sounded childlike almost to a fault; it was borderline creepy. However, the choir was balanced by skilled singers who provided a range of sound. There was clearly intention behind each dance number progressing the relationship between the Kats and Dogs; I appreciated that attention to detail.
While I started out skeptical of the theme, this act created a meaningful medley of songs that showcased the experiences of different parties during the war. When women in red dresses and aprons came out singing “I Need Somebody,” it initially came off to me as archaically misogynistic, but I was then pleased by the counteractive effect of the following number “Woman Up,” which had Rosie the Riveter-inspired outfits. I appreciated how dynamic each part of the show was, each strikingly different from the last. All uses of vocals were deliberate, and the group was never loud just to be loud. The act worked as a cohesive whole.
As soon as the lights came up, the entire stage shimmered with the most glamorous outfits the audience had seen yet. Although coordinated, the dance movements were predictable and repetitive. The songs also sounded similar to one another and failed to build intrigue over time. Exceptions to this were the pyramid dance formation in the opening of “Hey Now,” which used layering and well-timed movements to create a mesmerizing pattern and the closing medley which added interest to the original tracks.
Of all the performances, Delta Tau Delta elicited the most hollers from the crowd. The choreography was simple but still effective, because the front performer was so dynamic and lively. The lights were skillfully used to add intensity to scenes; no other act had yet to utilize this element of the set as deliberately. It was clear that some people on stage weren’t as committed to acting out the scenes as others — while some had dramatic facial expressions, others seemed to be preoccupied with making sure they got the movements right. Nonetheless, Delta Tau Delta provided a highly entertaining show.
Alpha Delta Pi had the most technically complex use of vocals and choreography. There was an element of professionalism underlying their entire performance. The lead vocals were very talented, but the choir chiming in louder than expected was often alarming and didn’t audibly transition smoothly. ADPi had the most creative use of costume, featuring a dazzling crown for the Queen of Hearts and extra specialty designs for side characters of Alice and Wonderland such as White Rabbit, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.
BYX offered an entertaining show with strong singing leads. The entire ensemble, however, seemed to be limited in enthusiasm at points. I wish the cast had truly gone “full throttle.” However, the mood shift between the contemplative opener and fast-paced follower created excitement. There were some obvious lapses in timing with coordination, but everyone on stage seemed to be enjoying themselves rather than getting stressed by their mistakes, which makes for good show biz.
Sing Alliance provided an unmatched performance, costumes and set mechanics. Sing Alliance had the strongest group of singers of the night. Each member radiated with genuine joy and passion. With multiple small skits, side singers, and dances going on all at once, there was always so much to look at on stage. No matter where your eye fell, each aspect of the performance was being executed perfectly. Each song beautifully transitioned into the next; each second on stage was entertaining.
While other acts used the formulaic line style of crowd dancing, MA integrated dance styles — contemporary, lyrical, step and hip hop — with spotlighted dancers. There was a whole dance routine that was not even accompanied by any singing, allowing the audience to appreciate the choreography alone. Some of the vocals needed more projection and fine tuning, but the harmony in “Lose You to Love Me” was one of the best executed all night. However, there were awkward prolonged transitions between songs in which the stage would be empty, or near empty, for several seconds before more members would rush in.
The Ship of Dreams was truly the performance of fantasies. Each person on stage was clad in the classiest of outfits. It opened with immaculate a cappella, followed by consistently smooth vocals. There were often so many people on stage, shoulder-to-shoulder, yet they continued to execute the creative choreography with precision. The high energy performance closed with a somber and chilling depiction of the sinking of the Titanic, meaningfully alluding to the historic tragedy.
Phi Kappa Chi gave the most dramatic show all night, using scarecrows [which are empty inside and tied up] as a metaphor for the fallen human condition. Starting with a dark and aggressive tone, the group broke into a harmony that enchantingly told the message of the gospel and its ability to give new life. In a touching, genuine moment, the group took their hats off as they worshiped on stage. The number that came after was energetic, filling the auditorium with joy.
The Flintstones theme offered great opportunities for backdrop and costume, which Pi Beta Phi executed beautifully. The tassel-fringed pants were mesmerizing during the dance numbers. The songs were all high-energy but offered different tones — hyper, spunky, sassy. There were strong singers backed by solid group singing which tactfully struck a balance between being loud but not yelling. They kept the audience captivated.
The concept of the Ghouls Next Door created a fun setting; the interactions between ghosts and ghostbusters were an interesting aspect of the show. While the duets were wonderfully performed, the backup singing from the group was often shrill and distracting. There was an exciting variety of singing and dancing; the use of blacklight over flowing white dresses was one of the coolest visuals of the night.
Ring By Sing was the embodiment of girl power. Dancers had fierce facial expressions and singers sang with a sense of strength. Many elements were thrilling — dancing that mimicked boxing movements, play fighting matches, LED shoes and jump ropes. Zeta Tau Alpha was a high-energy end to the night!
Maid to Moove showed that you don’t have to take yourself seriously to put on a good show. Dozens of girls dressed in cow onesies dancing under a disco ball is a marvel I would have never imagined I would see. The show was entertaining from beginning to end with bucket choreography reminiscent of the cup song and an epic dramatization of spilled milk. It was a feel-good, fun performance.
Kappa Omega Tau began shakily with a couple songs sung offbeat. The performance was lively and fun, making the audience wish they could go up on stage and join the Mardi Gras party. While well-coordinated, the choreography was not particularly impressive or distinct. The closing medley of “High Hopes” and “The Greatest Show” featuring unique stomping steps was of noticeably higher quality than the rest of the show. It was entertaining but fell short of going above and beyond.
Kappa Chi Alpha provided a bubbly, happy-go-lucky performance that kept the audience smiling. Opening with the Phineas and Ferb theme song and featuring the classic “I Want Candy” gave such a fun nostalgic feeling. Just as the constant cheery tone was getting monotonous, they cut in with deer trotting in for a more sassy number. This group had some of the strongest singers of the night, and the most impressive group harmonies.
Alpha Tau Omega presented the most dynamic and shocking dancing seen all night. The movements were well-timed and entertaining. There were elements of tap, stomping and step. Between runners across backs and rollers under jumpers, Alpha Tau Omega kept the audience hollering in excitement. Each song offered a different energy from the last, but everyone on stage transitioned between each without missing a beat. The lead singers were strong performers, but unlike others seen tonight, never drew attention away from the group made up of individuals who were each equally entertaining to watch.
Correction: In the print version of Friday’s Sing edition, Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) is incorrectly referred to as “Alpha Delta Phi” and “ADPhi.”