Tagged: dance

The Beauty of Dance: Latin dance on “Britain’s Got Talent”

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Britain’s Got Talent,” the British sister to “America’s Got Talent,” recently aired a Latin dance troupe. While dance may not be something new on this show, the troupe definitely brought something new to the table.

Made up of five couples from the U.K., Kings and Queens took the stage on the popular television show.

Personally, I didn’t think this performance was going to be anything special, and it does not seem like the judges thought much of it either considering their lukewarm reactions when the team introduced themselves.

Then, Kings and Queens started to dance.

From the beginning, the dancers combined traditional Latin influences with more modern choreography. I particularly enjoyed that they demonstrated their technical skill as separate couples, but they also demonstrated individual skill and talent by coming together (see: 2:20 in the video).

In their description, they talk about being surrounded by each other constantly, and that chemistry definitely shows through their dancing. Latin dance, in my opinion, has a reputation for being incredibly sensual and powerful, which Kings and Queens brought to life.

I also found their use of songs such as “Animals” by Martin Garrix to be a refreshing, yet interesting change. I definitely never saw that as a song that could be used for Latin dance, but this troupe has proved me wrong.

An iconic segment from this performance was the partner dances at 2:01, where the movements are all timed with sounds in the music. It is robotic, but I find it to be a very powerful segment within their dance.

Two of the dancers, Ryan McShane and Ksenia Zsikhotska, are part of The Capital Dance School, which teaches students many different styles of dancing: from Ballroom to Salsa to the Tango.

I’m very curious to see where this group ends up. I definitely think they have the potential to make it to finals within the competition, given their fresh and creative nature.

And with this video concludes my articles about the beauty of dance. Although I dance, I’ve actually learned a lot through researching and analyzing videos of dance, and I hope you all have gained a little appreciation for dance through reading my column. I’d like to thank you all, and of course, have a wonderful summer break! See you all next fall.

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K-Pop dance showcase miXxes it up

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

/ PHOTO BY Katrina Uy

K-Pop has more of a following at BU than one might think./ PHOTO BY Katrina Uy

On Friday night the first Korean pop dance showcase, miXx It Up!, was held in Jacob Sleeper Auditorium with over 150 people in attendance.

If there’s an award for the club with the most interesting concept, it’s got to go to miXx, hands down: it’s currently the only dance group on campus that solely focuses on “K-Pop,” or Korean pop, a catchy musical genre that has taken the world by storm. Each month, the club learns the original choreography to dances performed by various K-Pop artists and makes music videos of each dance.

Whether you’re a K-Pop fan or not, the show was very high in energy and each and every performance was an explosion of fun, with audience members cheering performers on for two hours straight.

The club kicked off the show with a cover of the incredibly upbeat “I Got A Boy” by Girls’ Generation. Other memorable performances included covers of “Growl” by EXO and “We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2” by BTS. During a medley of “Animal” by Jo Kwon and “Dr. Feel Good” by RaNia, all of the male dancers turned up the heat in the auditorium by stripping down to booty shorts and taking off their shirts.

Although the group has performed at various events throughout the year, including Boston University China Care Fund’s So You Think BU Can Dance?, BU’s Relay for Life and cultural shows held by BU’s Filipino Student Association and Korean Student Association, miXx it up! was the first time the club had an entire show to themselves to show off all the dances they had worked on after seven months of practicing.

/ PHOTO BY Katrina Uy

The club learns the original choreography to dances performed by various K-Pop artists./ PHOTO BY Katrina Uy

Dondré Gumbs, president of miXx and a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, explained to the audience how the club first started: he and Trisha Briones, miXx’s vice president who is also a senior in CAS, began a K-Pop cover group of just five members in Japan while they were both studying abroad last year. When they returned to BU in the fall, they decided to bring miXx to campus and were astounded when over 100 people expressed interest and ultimately joined.

Though the stage in Jacob Sleeper Auditorium was small, performers often danced into the aisles, making for a more interactive show with the audience.

“Although I can’t understand the language, K-Pop music is always really catchy and fun,” said College of Arts and Sciences junior Michelle Chen. “A lot of time K-Pop includes choreographed dancing and it makes it hard not to be addicted to the music…Watching miXx’s show was just like watching K-Pop music videos. Everyone looked like they were having so much fun and I felt like I wanted to join in and dance with them. I could tell that they put a lot of work and effort into the show, and what was even more surprising was seeing how many members were in miXx,” Chen said.

It was an exciting and fun night shared by all, and audience members were seen leaving the auditorium humming along to K-Pop songs the group had covered.

The Beauty of Dance: Diesel’s A-Z of Dance

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Apparel company Diesel recently came out with a dance video entitled “A-Z of Dance” as part of its #dieselreboot campaign to advertise its new line of jeans. The company collaborated with i-D, a London-based fashion and style magazine.

Diesel’s new jeans are meant to allow people to remain active instead of feeling restricted by their jeans. To showcase this, dancers were filmed doing their specialty of dance on an empty rooftop.

Directed by Jacob Sutton, a London-based fashion photographer, the video showcases varied, popular dance styles. These styles include “bhangra,” “liquid dance” and “finger-tutting,” to name a few.

I love this video because it captures the essence of many different dance styles instead of focusing on one. Dance as a whole is moving towards a fusion of styles with roots in all sorts of cultures such as those of Spain, India and Africa.

This video showcases dancers such as Lil Buck, who specializes in a dance style called “jookin’” (otherwise known as “Gangsta Walking,” originating from Memphis, Tenn.). Viewers will probably recognize classic moves in the video such as YMCA, krumping and a more recent type of dance style – twerking.

Diesel did a great job of advertising both its jeans and its versatility by including dancers, like Lil Buck, who aren’t as well-recognized.

I found finger tutting to be one of my favorites. We’ve all seen some amazing tutting, but that never usually extends to fingers so I thought the focus on the hand was a fresh take on the dance style.

The Beauty of Dance: evolution of dance parodies

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have surely heard of the YouTube video “Evolution of Dance” by Judson Laipply. With over 250 million views, it has become one of the most popular videos on YouTube.

In it, Laipply imitates dance styles from the 50s all the way to the end of the 90s. Some of the hits he dances to include “Thriller,” “Walk Like An Egyptian,” “Macarena” and, of course, “Bye Bye Bye.” After the success of his video, Laipply created Evolution of Dance 2 and is currently working on Evolution of Dance 3, which is sure to include more modern tunes.

But of course, what’s a YouTube video without its parodies?

Jimmy Fallon, Tonight Show host and king of parodies, created a few parodies based on this insanely popular dance video.

His first parody of the video, “Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing,” was a tribute to the most popular hip-hop dance moves over the decades. So of course he danced on stage with Will Smith.

While this version was popular, Fallon released another parody of “Evolution of Dance” that became even more popular – “Evolution of Mom Dancing” starring himself and Michelle Obama. The video is incredibly entertaining and accurate at the same time. The thought behind the video was to encourage both parents and children to get up and stay active as part of the First Lady’s campaign, “Let’s Move!

The duo started off with the “Go Shopping, Get Groceries” and “Raise the Roof.” My personal favorite is “Where’s Your Father (Get Him Back Here!)” If there’s one thing this video shows, it’s that Michelle Obama can dance.

Check out the video below:

The Beauty of Dance: The Jabbawockeez

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

The Jabbawockeez, an all-male dance group originating from San Diego, is practically a household name.

This iconic group began with three members — Kevin Brewer, Phil Tayag and Joe Larot — under the name “Three Muskee”. By 2004, the group had grown to seven members. Tony Tran was the most recent member to join just last year. There is no “captain” or “leader” of the group. Instead, they work collaboratively on each dance piece.

The Jabbawockeez are usually associated with incredibly controlled movement and with their signature white masks.

The group rose to fame by competing on talent shows “America’s Got Talent,” from which they were eliminated, and “America’s Best Dance Crew,” which they later won. Since then, they have performed on many shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance”, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “Dancing With The Stars”, to name a few. Despite having been eliminated from AGT, they managed to get their own show in Las Vegas.

Recently, they have been dabbling in the world of YouTube short films. They created one this year called “REGENERATE”.

The short is directed by Kevin Tancharoen, director of the movie Fame and Glee: The 3D Concert Movie.

“REGENERATE” is set in the future — 2036 to be exact. The background for the video is that art and culture have been outlawed by the government. Of course, there are the rebels who refuse to accept this.

In a city reminiscent of Star Wars, the audience is introduced to a girl who seems to be part of the resistance. She goes into an abandoned theater, where she discovers the Jabbawockeez.

Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest so that you’ll watch the beginning (If, however, you are solely interested in the dancing, you’ll want to start at 4:44).

While I’m sure special effects are used, the Jabbawockeez have this unnerving robotic quality to them. The white masks make them into a force, rather than a group of individual people.

In addition to the lighting and atmosphere of the scene, the music aids the dance quite a bit. The Jabbawockeez come off as intimidating and even animated by their lack of human qualities. At 5:52, I was blown away by the ladder they created with their arms and how well it coordinated with the music. And the cinematography only serves to enhance what the Jabbawockeez already have.

Check out the video below:

The Beauty of Dance: Mother/Daughter Duet

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Hope you all had a wonderful, but most of all relaxing spring break away from this frigid weather.

Now, time for what you all are (hopefully) looking forward to – dance.

Fans of “The Ellen Show” will recognize this one. Ellen came across a YouTube video of 3-year-old Heaven King and her mother, Tianne King, dancing to “End of Time” by Beyoncé “Queen Bey” Knowles.

In the video, Heaven, who was 2-years-old at the time, dances an entire routine with her mother. The camera focuses in on Heaven, who surprisingly has most of the moves memorized. The dynamic between the two can be described with one word: adorable.

Her mother, Tianne, is actually a dance teacher back in New York, so it seems natural that her daughter picked up some of the moves. When asked whether she would want to be a dancer in the future, Heaven cheekily replied that she is a dancer.

Then, the duo performed their routine on “The Ellen Show” stage. If possible, they were even cuter and better this time around. Ellen, after congratulating them, gifted them with tickets to Beyoncé concert and a chance to meet the Queen herself.

It’s no surprise that this video captured the attention of over 24 million viewers.

Honestly, it’s nice to see a heart-warming interaction between mother and daughter dancers especially after seeing shows such as “Dance Moms.”

The Lifetime show covers the Abby Lee Dance Company’s dancers, but specifically these dancers’ mothers. To further their daughters’ careers in the business, they take any means necessary, which often results in bickering among the mothers themselves leading to stress on their daughters.

While this show may be entertaining, the reality of the mothers and dancers are scary. The amount of pressure put onto these girls by their mothers can, at times, be unhealthy.

Perhaps the mothers of “Dance Moms” could stand to take a lesson from Tianne King when it comes to treating their daughters in respect to dance.

Fusion Presents: ELEMENTS XIV Dance Competition

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

UPro performs at Fusion's ELEMENTS XIV/ PHOTO BY Katrina Uy

UPro performs at Fusion’s ELEMENTS XIV/ PHOTO BY Katrina Uy

Static and electrifying – that was what the energy was like on Saturday night. The audience screamed their support as dancers threw themselves across the stage with flips and stunts.

Fusion, Boston University’s leading on-campus hip hop dance troupe, hosted ELEMENTS XIV, its annual dance competition in Metcalf Ballroom. Some of the best dance crews from all over the east coast performed, including The Mooks, Northeastern’s Kinematix, and UFP.

The night’s winners were Static Noyze, Capital Funk, and PROject Nailz. All three crews have competed at ELEMENTS before.

Using a blend of contemporary dance and hip hop, Static Noyze, a group known for its visionary themes and story-lines in its sets, earned first place with its unique telling of a power struggle between an Egyptian queen and king.

Capital Funk and PROject Nailz also performed sets that stood out from the line-up of competitors. PROject Nailz had arguably one of the funniest and most memorable sets of the night, and highlighted some of its dancers by dressing them as various characters from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”.

Many of BU’s own dance groups also competed. Aside from Fusion, who opened and closed the competition with two separate sets, Unofficial Project (also known as UPro), an Asian hip hop dance troupe that “combines elements of Asian and American hip hop culture,” and Vibes, BU’s only all-female hip hop dance group, also performed in the first half of the show.

Beau Fournier played host to the event once again this year. Fournier is a dancer and choreographer of the Los Angeles-based crew, Fanny Pak. His commentary and antics served as transitions between the competing crews’ sets.

In addition to Fournier, Vinh Nguyen, Pat Cruz, and James Alsop served as judges for the competition, all of whom are dancers and choreographers with stunning credentials. Alsop has even worked and choreographed for the Queen of Pop herself – Beyoncé.

Crazy impressive, right?

It was definitely a night to remember for the dance community. The atmosphere was so intense that even non-dancers were sure to have a good time. And if you missed out on getting tickets for the show, don’t fret. On Sunday, Nguyen, Cruz, Alsop, and Fournier will hold workshops all day in Metcalf Ballroom. Prices can be found on the ELEMENTS XIV Facebook event page.

The Beauty of Dance: Ballet comes to BU

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

The elegance of a Boston Ballet dancer takes tremendous dedication./ PHOTO VIA Wikimedia Commons.

The elegance of a Boston Ballet dancer takes tremendous dedication./ PHOTO VIA Wikimedia Commons.

If you don’t already do so, I suggest you read some of the emails and tweets Boston University sends out about various events going on around campus. I assure you there are tons of things that might peak your interest. In fact, this is how I got the chance to attend a preview of the Boston Ballet for their upcoming season.

BU’s own Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center hosted a moderated discussion about the Boston Ballet dancers and the pieces they were performing on Monday, Feb. 4. In addition to learning about the their performance  “Close to Chuck,” made up of three different works (“Close to Chuck,” “Bella Figura” and “Resonance”), students had the opportunity to see dancers perform excerpts from each routine.

“Close to Chuck”:

The first dance in the performance was inspired by the theme of overcoming obstacles in life. The music and costumes to go along with this piece are amazing, a huge hit with advanced screenings of the segment.

“Bella Figura”:

This is quite a popular piece. It features the work of choreographer Jiřa Kylián, who released the original choreography in 1995. The story is based around darkness and finding the silver lining, giving the audience a chance to watch these graceful dancers emote what they are feeling on stage.

“Resonance”:

This last piece is the crown jewel among the three. For the first time, José Martinez is working with an American ballet company to produce a piece. For those of you don’t know who Martinez is, he joined the Paris Opera Ballet in ’88, and has never quit since. He has gained international recognition for his work, so watching this segment is quite the experience.

At the showcase itself, moderator Rusell Kaiser spoke of the time, effort and dedication that goes into these routines as well as the accompanying elements such as staging and lighting that factor into a good performance.

I enjoyed the talk interspersed with a few dance performances. It was a weird (albeit cool) experience watching Kaiser speak about the performance, then to see a part of it performed.

Ballet takes an incredible amount of discipline and stamina as well as grace, and these dancers definitely showed those qualities in their production. Even simple things such as the pointing of toes or expressions to the song gave the performance life, even if they didn’t have all the elements for the showcase.

If you’re interested in seeing the Boston Ballet perform “Close to Chuck,” they will be performing from February 20th to March 2nd. Buy your ticket ASAP and come enjoy a performance at the Boston Opera House.

The Beauty of Dance: Indian Fusion at BU

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

The BU Jalwa team/ PHOTO VIA David Uzvalok

The BU Jalwa team/ PHOTO VIA David Uzvalok

I clearly remember researching colleges during the summer before senior year, trying to decide what qualities of a college were really important to me. Sure, academics were the forerunner, but my teachers kept emphasizing the importance of a well-rounded college career.

They stressed that the college I would end up going to had to be the right “fit” for me. That idea really resonated with me, and I began to research colleges for other qualities rather than solely academics, which my parents supported.

With almost eight years of dancing under my belt, I knew I couldn’t let it go so easily. So, when it came down to my decisions, it was basically Boston University vs. Emerson College (I’m sure you can figure out which one I chose).

Upon deciding on BU, I did a bunch of research, and yes, that included dance teams. Despite how embarrassing it is, the fact of the matter is that I knew I wanted to be on Boston University’s Jalwa team when I got here. After being part of an all girls group for so many years, I wanted a change without straying too far from my favorite dance styles.

Not long after starting the Fall semester I became a member of BU Jalwa. We practice from 8:45-11 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 2:45-4:00 on Sundays. To give you a small idea of how intense this dance group is, being late results in a fee depending on the amount of minutes you were late. Let’s just say that you will rarely find me being late to practice. Oh, that broke college student life…

We begin each practice with stretches. After that, we usually focus on practicing one type of number of dance styles. Among these styles are bhangra (traditional dance from Punjab, India), hip-hop, contemporary and Bollywood (a fusion many different dance styles, but primarily from classical and modern Indian dances), not unlike this video.  Occasionally we dedicate to a practice to stunts, which, believe me, is as scary as it sounds.

This may not sound that bad, but enter competition season and everything changes.

All of a sudden, practices are ramped up to most (if not all) days of the week. The stress of learning different choreography, formations, and using costumes begins to pile on. During this period, the guys and girls on this team basically become like family – people I’m forced to like.

I’m only kidding, promise!

Seriously though, it takes a lot of dedication and effort from everyone, especially from our board, the individuals responsible for organizing our entire team.

But all this for an eight minute routine? You may wonder why. College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Rohan Rastogi has one answer:

“Competition season is grueling in terms of physical and mental stress, but it’s by far the most rewarding experience. There’s no feeling comparable to performing in front of a huge crowd and seeing an entire year’s worth of hard work pay off in a span of just eight minutes.”

Speaking of competition season, we are currently preparing for South Asian Showdown, a competition for Bollywood and Fusion dance teams. It will be held at John Hancock Hall right here in Boston on Saturday, February 8th starting at 6 p.m.

If you’d like to see all our hardwork finally being put onto stage, buy a ticket and come out and support BU Jalwa in our hometown!

Here’s a video of BU Jalwa performing in a dance competition a few years ago:

The Beauty of Dance: A New Frontier

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Personally, I think the cold weather is tolerable, but once wind is added to that mix there is no way you can force me to leave Warren Towers. What better way to pass the time then to watch mind-blowing dance videos online?

That was a trick question, there is no better way.

Today, I’m happy to introduce you to Academy of Villains, a competitive hip-hop dance group based in San Francisco, Calif. Under the leadership of Christopher Pharside Jennings and Krystal Meraz, they came together in 2009 and have placed in every competition entered since. Two years ago, they won the title of USA Champions at Hip Hop.

Recently, they placed first at Vibe XIX 2014. Take a look at their performance:

I could go on and on about this performance, but I think the dancing speaks for itself. Instead, I’ll highlight four parts of this piece that blew me away.

A key element that is not as well understood is lighting. At 0:48, the dancers were in a circle formation with others surrounding it from the back. I like the subtle chain reaction effect they had, where as soon as the circle completed a move, the rest of the dancers came alive and joined in. Lighting here is key because it gave off an eerie and mysterious feeling, which only adds another layer to the dancing.

Clearly, the dancers’ faces aren’t meant to be visible, so the viewer’s attention is focused on the actual moves.

What gives these moves an extra edge is the formations. By the placement of the dancers, the moves instantly looked ten times bigger than they would otherwise. A phenomenal example of this is the clump on the right at 3:17. As a collective, the group looked intimidating. Once a dancer is flipped in the air (right on beat), all attention shifted to the group. They then began to pulsate for a few beats, which in itself isn’t a very intricate move but when done to that scale, it becomes powerful.

Another way to reel the audience in is through the use of props. The Villains made their dancers into marionettes at 2:14. A string was attached from their shoes to their hands. While the strings should be restrictive in theory, the dancers used it to their advantage. In addition to creating various shapes with the string, they demonstrated immense control over their bodies giving the appearance of – you guessed it – a marionette.

I like to refer my favorite segment as the shadow segment at 5:25. Saving the best for last, this is honestly one of the more creative pieces I’ve seen in a long time, and if you weren’t convinced that they deserved to win first place, this should definitely lead you to that conclusion. They propped up a screen and flashed a light behind it so that the audience could see the dancers silhouette. From there, they danced to a popular throwback song, “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence. The illusions they were able to create left me speechless.

Over the years, with new technology and innovation, dance has really taken on a whole new meaning with the addition of props, lighting, and formations to name a few.