Street | Dance
BAC:Dance delivers exactly what it promises to with “House Party” — an unadulterated good time. The show opens with a confident and rousing medley, whose lighting, chants and crowd interaction build anticipation for what is to come. Afterward, a playful Hangover-esque filler introduces the rest of the show as a fuzzy flashback into what happened the night before. The following pieces are packed full of the dancing and humor that have become characteristic of BAC performances. Their choreography is, as always, precise and fierce; their music, clothing and general production quality together speak to a deeply professional passion balanced by casual swagger.
One of the show’s early highlights is the unassuming “You’re Not Invited,” as performed by a clique of quiet wallflowers from the preceding filler video. Perhaps because of this introduction, one might expect their piece to be dry or lifeless. On the contrary, choreographer Lorenzo Laing ’16 has made it what the kids these days are calling “fresh to death.” The dancers’ grave uniformity is impressive, and the routine is an interesting departure from BAC’s standard hip-hop fare. That being said, I would argue that this piece could best encapsulate BAC’s potential as a company: impossibly cool and executed with detailed precision, but still expressive of each individual’s style and approach. In this piece and many others, the dancers all seem like equals within the company. Although some are more talented than others, choreographers are sure to give all of the dancers their turn in the spotlight. By the end of the show, the audience feels as though they are personally and individually acquainted with each dancer.
My only real complaint about the show is its length. As has been mentioned in previous reviews of recent BAC performances, the overall experience tends to lean towards the slightly bloated. Yes, the fillers are well produced and the dance-off is a regular highlight, but there are simply too many pieces. Given that their genre is already fairly specific, choreography seems to spill between pieces a bit too often. As a result, some of the less creative pieces like “Return of the Mack” get lost in the crowd. The choreographers’ brief experiments with West Indian and African styles are therefore a welcome respite from otherwise repetitive pieces. Future BAC managers could gain much by consolidating similar pieces and branching into new territories that will challenge their dancers’ obvious talent.
To really appreciate their skills, you will just have to see to believe. One element of BAC performances that I fear is too often taken for granted is the company’s treatment of gender and sexuality. Without getting too mired in a sensitive discussion of cisnormativity and consent, I would like to congratulate their creativity, regardless of whether or not it is entirely intentional. In most other contemporary companies, women’s pieces frequently fall into the trap of either portraying them all as Succubus or sister figures; they are either sexified tramps or angelic beauties, reliant upon their sex appeal or grace to engage audience attention. BAC, on the other hand, bucks the trend and presents its women as fierce and aggressive. They avoid those stereotypes and in so doing, evoke the dancers’ sexuality and strength in a much more realistic way. “B-A-yonce” and “Gangstas Don’t Dance or Boogie” demonstrate this particularly well. Of course, this is not to say that this is the only correct way to approach female performance in dance; it is simply a breath of fresh air. Similarly, “Bad for You” and “Love Games” are tender portrayals of complex romance through the characteristically aggressive BAC style.
In conclusion, it has been a long time since I last reviewed a dance show for The Daily Princetonian, and much has changed since then. I have seen all the major companies’ shows and have learned what to expect from their themes, fillers and choreographies. In “House Party,” BAC has done away with the abstract and pretentious buzzword titles that seem to dominate this campus’ dance shows. Instead, their theme and advertising scheme is innovative in its simplicity. It provides a show without affectation but full of confident, precise and raunchy fun. I myself have joined a dance team that travels across the country to compete against other colleges and academies’ teams. This has given me a much greater appreciation for the vigor, precision and abandon with which BAC dances. They throw themselves completely into their art and, in so doing, consistently offer incredibly entertaining, engaging and real performances. This show is no exception, and it showcases some of the best dancing talent that this campus has to offer.
4.5 out of 5 paws
Pros: High energy, great music, fun interaction, some interesting new approaches to choreography
Cons: Too long, sometimes repetitive