In the mood for high-energy entertainment that celebrates art and athleticism at the same time? This past Thursday the Ferst Center presented So You Think Tech Can Dance?, a kinetic extravaganza of all of the best dance teams Tech had to offer. The entire show clocked in at a little over an hour and was entirely free, making this an event accessible to both the thrifty and the busy.
Judging this event was a panel of four, which featured both dance aficionados amongst the Tech faculty as well as well-involved figures in the dance industry. This included people from one of Tech’s clinical psychologists to a choreographer and dancer for Cher.
The event opened with a performance by GT Salsa. The group featured a rhythmic, heated salsa dance lit with suggestive, flowing movements. They served as an excellent draw to the rest of the event.
Ramblin Raas, one of the first of many Indian performance groups, followed GT Salsa. An Indian dance involving the use of dandiyas (wooden sticks), this was a much more traditional dance that was still rhythmic and engaging through its instrumental use of the sticks.
The end of that performance was followed by a huge shift in style with Dance Tech. A much more modern and “out there” group, Dance Tech featured a bizarre yet innovative horror-themed show. The dancers on stage were all dressed up as what appeared to be zombies and danced to a medley of experimental art music, including songs by Bjork.
The next dances in the lineup were Tufaan and the Filipino Student Association. Tufaan continued to feature aspects of Indian dancing that would recur throughout the show. The Filipino Student Association, featuring a team of just four people, put on an extremely pop-oriented display. Definitely one of the highest energy performances of the night, the FSA’s dance was much more soloist with regards to its members as opposed to the collective coordination found in most of the other teams.
Qurbani, the winning group of the night, featured an eclectic mashup between modern and traditional dances. The dance divided its members into two groups, those who danced in a modern hip-hop style and those who danced and dressed in a much more traditional style.
The last team to dance was Gold Rush, Tech’s official athletic dance team. This team was much more mainstream in most respects than other groups and certainly much more familiar than the culturally distinct groups mentioned above. However, while the dance was successful on a technical level, it was lacking in the originality or cultural uniqueness found in all of the other dances.
Rounding out the performance for the night was a solo performance by Amy LaViers. This particular dance while featuring traditional ballet elements, was also much more modern. The dance was heavy on the participants’ interpretation and gave them freedom to improvise in a way not found in the older ballets or styles of music. While the piece was at times slow, its elegance made it a fitting, if low key, end to the event.
Overall, the show was definitely an engaging way to spend an hour. The performances were all solid in technical aspects and original too. However, the high energy and engagement of the audience made this a great, enjoyable event for people of all levels of familiarity with dance.