Radiance Dance Theatre hosted their spring show “Dancing Thru Life” last Thursday. The show got off to a gradual and somewhat disjointed start, but Radiance was soon captivating the audience with dance after original dance. Guest performances by the Midnight Ramblers, UR Stylez and Strong Jugglers did nothing to dull the mood over the course of the hour-and-a-half show.
Radiance president and senior Brittany Sherman welcomed the audience before cutting to a slideshow that featured past and present photos of Radiance members. This part of the show was probably more poignant to those audience members who had a friend or friends in the club. If you knew the members of Radiance, then seeing their baby pictures was pretty funny. If you didn’t know them, it was like looking through a stranger’s family photo albums: cute, but a little baffling.
Radiance tied the show together with an underarching narrative told in a series of skits between the dance numbers. The story followed a girl’s life from infancy to college, playing on the recurring theme of childhood memories. Radiance member and sophomore Zoya Ramzan played the main character, while junior Stephen Powell and Sherman as her parents.
The first number featured the Radiance performers as horror movie doll-monsters in a nightmare-themed dance, with club members dressed as demonic marionettes and puppet masters. The nightmare concluded with a chilling scream from Ramzan, and then the mood changed completely with the introduction of the night’s first guest performers.
Five members of campus breakdancing crew UR Stylez dropped some sick moves on the dance floor, drawing a steady stream of cheers from the audience as the dancers demonstrated “whacking” and other breakdancing styles. Following UR Stylez’s performance, Radiance member and sophomore Alex White took the stage to perform a solo breakdancing act of his own.
Following White’s dance, Radiance threw the May Room into darkness. When the lights came back on, the Midnight Ramblers rushed the stage to applause from the audience. The Ramblers performed a short set, singing two songs and publicizing their upcoming show.
The Ramblers concluded their piece and departed the room with the same boisterous energy with which they had entered: it was time for Radiance to return to the stage. Radiance cranked up the energy in the room with a slick Cuban Cha-Cha then bumped the base and broke it down for their fans on Olly Murs & Flo Rida’s “Troublemaker.” These dances were followed by Radiance’s standard Bollywood number “Club Awesome,” a short medley of Bollywood music familiar to any previous attendee of a Radiance show. Next, Radiance reached back even further into their club’s history when they danced to the freedom-loving Sara Bareilles pop song “King of Anything,” in a number that they noted had been choreographed two years ago by the 2013 members of Radiance.
The third and final guest performers of the night were the Strong Jugglers, who also announced their weekend show. “Uptown Funk” played alongside near-constant applause from the audience, as senior Rachel Milner and junior Julia Spriggens did trick juggling and even some acrobatics.
By this point in the show, there were only two Radiance dances remaining. Ramzan and the other characters kept up their skits in between dance numbers, now conveying an attitude of nostalgia and quasi-regret. They performed “Wings,” a subdued number that made use of modern and interpretive-style dancing, and then did a complete reverse, turning the energy all the way up with the closer “Channeling Your Inner Beyonce.”
Passanisi is a member of the class of 2017.