The Rochester Revue, a series of performances by a number of UR’s finest ensembles, sold out the house last Saturday and, though not every act was dazzling, all the groups entertained. Dean of Students Jody Asbury emceed this year’s Revue for the final time, and her lovely banter with co-host, “UR Idol” winner and first-class beat-boxer Shane Campbell-Staton will be missed.
The show kicked off with six girls from the Chinese Students’ Association taking the stage with all the confidence of gazelles entering a lion’s den. Out came orange fans, and a nice, if unexciting, dance began, though it picked up at the end.
With appropriately brilliant smiles on, Radiance Dance Theatre ascended next in full pirate garb. They performed a tap dance full of gusto,; it was definitely one of the liveliest performances of the evening.
Next came the Students of the Caribbean Association (SOCA). The routine was enjoyable, but the lack of energy was not. It should be noted that smiling does not constitute enthusiasm, though it is a nice touch.
The fourth act was In Between the Lines Comedy Troupe, the resident improv association. They played a game wherein two members had to come up with a one-minute sketch about a meat cleaver. I laughed harder when I broke my leg in fifth grade. In an attempt to make it funny, it had to be re-acted in half the time, because halving the time means doubling the laughter. Unfortunately, you can’t double zero laughter. They continued this process and continually reassured me that the Multiplicative Property of Zero is, indeed, law.
Thankfully, the Association for the Development of Interest in the Indian Subcontinent, or “ADITI,” came to the rescue with its Raas piece. Maybe it was the music, maybe it was the colors, but it was the first time of the night I was wowed. The rhythm of the dance matched the rhythm of the music just about perfectly.
The Spanish and Latino Students’ Association debuted their new dance troupe, SALSEROS, at the Revue, performing, well, salsa. The salsa should be passionate, but I felt little between the dancers except awkwardness.
I missed some great banter as Asbury introduced The Stingers Trombone Ensemble because I was tearing into a mini-cheesecake. I don’t know what they played, but they did a great job.
Next, Indulgence, part of the Black Students’ Union, shook their bodies all over the stage. And furthermore, many had knee socks. That made my night.
An hour into the Revue, the Filipino-American Students’ Association entertained us with some very fancy footwork. Unfortunately, the Revue utilizes a thrust stage, so if you weren’t in front of the dancers, I feel like a lot of action was missed.
Hon, a new Korean percussion group, rocked my world. It came with no dancing and no movement, but I do love a good drum set.
That group with hands of wonderment, Strong Jugglers, performed next. They gave a virtually flawless presentation, though things started to fall apart just a bit at the end, but they recovered well.
Sihir Bellydancing Ensemble thrilled next. I don’t mean to be a cad but, they’re hot. Though they gave a performance perfectly in step, half of the six-person brigade was left on the sidelines and seemed underused.
Next up was another BSU division, the X-Clusive Step Team, proving you can chant, clap and stomp at the same time and do it masterfully. In a word, splendid.
Less splendid was the return of In Between the Lines, this time playing Forward/Reverse, where there’s a scene about a guy inviting a neighbor over for some ham, but with a narrator that can move the story backward or forward. They redeemed themselves from earlier.
Ballet Performance Group strode up next. Slow, rhythmic and nearly melodic, the choreography was expectably phenomenal, though the piece was a stark contrast to the mood that had thus far been established. My joints still hurt from watching it.
The penultimate performance was Off Broadway On Campus, performing “Cantata for a First Date,” from “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” It was cute, I loved it and they were perfect. Don’t change.
With the finale approaching, the energy in the tent became palpable as UR Bhangra lined up. Despite technical difficulties, they brought home the Revue, infectiously energetic as always, legs and arms flailing. But, I wish they’d figure out how to transition between songs – you could drive a Mack truck through the long, momentum-killing pauses.
With night falling, the Revue closed. Sixteen acts did a great job displaying the multi-cultural wonderland that is UR (the Italian food furthered diversity as well). Though not flawless, the big top entertainment managed to impress.
Brenneman is a member of the class of 2009.