REVIEW: That Brown Show 2022

This weekend, I attended That Brown Show 2022. It is an event put together by a team made up of different members of brown cultural groups. These groups include a classical music team, classical dance groups, contemporary fusion groups and many more. Every year they come together to put One. Grand. Show. 

This year was the first That Brown 

Show since 2019 and the excitement was unreal. The event was in Michigan Theatre and the grand venue suited the level of the show very well. The line to enter the show extended out of the theatre because so many people wanted in! The audience was super engaged and it consisted of college students but also parents. The show had emcees who introduced the performances and we were taken on a ride. 

The event began with a very skilled and tasteful performance of Indian classical music. They played instruments I had never seen in real life before and they played them masterfully. The auditorium was saturated with the unique tones and sounds of music. The singing was very good too. Theirvoices were powerful when needed and sweet when needed. It was a beautiful performance and for sure an amazing way to introduce the audience to the show. 

After the mesmerizing opening act, the show went into dance performances. The classical dance performances were all stirring and the technique of the performers was great. Their outfits were very traditional and they commanded audiences’ attention well. There were also more modern, fusion dance styles. They had a ton of energy and the dancers were excited to perform. 

They were really creative too! They had

 funny gags in them (that I don’t want to spoil in case they happen next year) and

 really fun story telling elements. The dancers were so energetic and their presence so commanding that it was hard to look away! 

The teams also had videos of them to introduce themselves be

fore each performance and I thought it was so cool. The videos had their own story sometimes and it made the event that much more interesting.I am happy to see so many groups on campus with members that are excited to perform. In every groups’ video it was apparent that the members were frie

nds and enjoyed the whole process of putting together a show. I applaud all of them for their commitment to their art-be it dance, or classical music or singing. Their hardwork and skills were apparent. Hats off to Michigan Manzaat, Maize Mirchi, Michigan Mayuri, WolveRAAS, Michigan Taal, Michigan Sahānā Music & Dance! 

REVIEW: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Stepping out of the theater after watching this movie was something else. It was a fresh take on existential movies and featured a lot of contemporary art. It’s hard to describe what Everything Everywhere All at Once is about because… it is about a lot of things. It was about family, the meaninglessness of life, adulthood, regrets, people with sausage fingers, and much more.

This movie was a sophisticated one. It delivered strong messages in a more ‘universal’ way. By that I mean, existential movies usually fall into contemplative, somber genres like film noir and the others but Everything Everywhere All at Once delivers these more complex thoughts about human existence through a family comedy of sorts. 

It is funny, it is emotional, it gives serious takeaways without taking itself too seriously and it does that through a careful display of techniques. This movie capitalizes on a lot of pop art and editing. It does not rely on a lot of cliches and uses unique art styles to deliver difficult to portray feelings like the kind a sci-fi movie about metaverses deals with. 

I believe what sets this movie, a sci-fi about metaverse, apart from other sci-fi metaverse movies is how wholesome it is. Sci-fi movies tend to be very plot-driven. The question they tackle is usually so many magnitudes above everyday life problems that they enter a league of their own where you can’t relate to the movie. It becomes more of an action movie at times. But Everything Everywhere All at Once takes a more delicate approach. 

The choice of a middle-aged Asian immigrant parent in America as a protagonist is strong enough to begin with. Her problems are realistic and she isn’t immediately thrown into the task of saving the world. She works through problems in human ways and overcomes problems like having a better relationship with her queer teen daughter. It’s a really fresh take on sci-fi and what all movies like this can offer. At times the warm family-oriented message can hold the movie back by becoming a little preachy but it is overall a good subversion of the genre. 

I loved this movie because of its creativity and how funny it was. It is the funniest sci-fi movie I’ve ever seen and I highly recommend everyone watches it to get a taste of what cool movies of our time look like!

REVIEW: AZAR 2022 ANNUAL NOWRUZ CULTURE SHOW

The Persian student association’s 2022 cultural show Azar was like going to a high class award ceremony and a family event at the same time. This show was a display of cultural pride and love. I got to learn a lot about Iranian culture and what it meant for the performers to showcase their Iranian heritage. 

The audience members were students but a lot of Persian families as well. I have heard from performers that this show attracts Persians from all around Ann Arbor and surrounding areas. In short, this show is a really big deal.

In keeping with displaying Iranian culture and the fact that a lot of the audience spoke Persian, the anchors in the program spoke in both English and Persian. Also, did I mention they had anchors (MCs)? 

As I mentioned, this show felt like a high class award ceremony because between performances there were MCs entertaining the audience and telling them about the show. 

The show had a diverse range of performances. It had a number of dances from different regions of Iran, a stand-up comedian, a few videos about the Persian Student Association, a very funny skit, and a piano performance. 

You could see that the performers were really dedicated to this show. They had a lot of love for their community and it was hard to not love the show because of it. The energy and love were palpable and seeing such diverse performances from areas of the world I did not know much about was an eye opening experience. 

I got to see how college students like me show their dedication to their culture and strive to bring together members of their diaspora. In videos shown at the cultural show, PSA members talked about how essential this show is to them for bringing together community members and strengthening their identity as children of immigrants. It was touching to hear that and realize how this show goes beyond just dances and skits. 

Their strong sentiments translate to a really amazing show and I hope everyone sees a show like this at least once. It feels like being invited to an intimate affair because the show was so deeply embedded in Persian culture and as someone who is not from Iran I could not have experienced that otherwise. I got to learn so much about Persian culture and I am grateful for that. If you get the chance then I highly highly recommend seeing the show!

REVIEW: Once on This Island

Once on This Island was everything it was hyped up to be and so much more. The joy and excitement in the audience when the musical began was palpable. It was a transporting experience. The music, the stage decorations, everything was phenomenal. I don’t know where to begin describing the event!

A good place would be the music. The live music was amazing. There were instruments used that I had never seen before but only heard. Iconic instruments from the Caribbean region. The audience was thrilled by the music before the musical even began and there was an atmosphere of cheer. Throughout the show, the music added a LOT. The authentic tunes helped transport us to a Caribbean island. The music brought an air of carefreeness and love. It also upped the tension a lot during tough scenes.

The actors took the musical to a whole new level. They were marvelous in their performances and the casting choice was just perfect. Every actor filled their role really well. There was a feeling of community when one saw them perform. The audience loved the actors. There were hoots and just a ton of general excitement all over.

I can’t write a review about this show and not mention the dances. The dances were amazing. Their energy was great. It brought the theme of family out really well. There were authentic dances of the region and the performers executed them so well. There was a tense scene where the main character was asked to perform at a party alone and dance for people. I couldn’t imagine how that scene would have progressed but oh my God, the main character did so well. She handled that scene like a boss and wowed everyone. It did not look forced and the reactions that the director of the musical had expected came out authentically from the audience. Everyone was in love. The performances used a lot of movement as well. The actor who played the devil mimicked a snake’s movement phenomenally.

The singing was great as well. It was joyous at times and sad at times but it was never not great. This was an overall amazing performance. MUSKET has done it yet again!

Review: Dance Mix 22′

 

Dance mix is hard to describe in a few words. If I had to choose it would be energetic. The show was phenomenal. All the participants performed extremely well and it was incredible. I could see their hard work in their moves and it was just amazing.

The dance mix was a show that featured performances by 11 different dance orgs on campus. It also had a percussion group performing. The performances ranged from hip-hop to modern ballet, to a yo-yo performance. I could see what university students had been up to and see the diversity present even in dance organizations. 

I loved the show and it was clear to see the audience loved it too. The auditorium was the fullest I’ve ever seen. It was a busy, busy night! 

There was a lot of audience engagement and the crowd was definitely loud (in a good way). The performers had a lot of engagement and none of their unique moves went unnoticed. It was obvious that the audience was really thrilled. 

The dance mix theme was the roaring 20s which wasn’t followed by a lot of the organizations but it did not take away from the show at all. While reading the program for the event I saw the description of each group and I was pleasantly surprised by how special all the organizations were. Their purpose for performing ranged from advocating their culture to just dancing around and having fun with friends. 

To give a brief overview of the performances- there were tap-dancing performances by RhythM (a group that started in fall 2000!). There were performances by the ballroom dance team, a storytelling performance tied with memes and dance by Funktion, a huge dance ensemble by K-Gayo-3 (a collab of 3 k-pop dance groups), a unique twist on ballet and contemporary dance by Salto to name just a few. 

If you think this description sounds fun and diverse then the actual event was only more so. All and all dance mix was an amazing experience. The performers, the audience-it was all a big vibe. 

REVIEW: The Short and Suite Nutcracker

While watching this show I kept thinking of what words to use to describe how awesome this is.
The Short and Suite Nutcracker by the Randazzo Dance company was a dance show featuring different dance styles. It had ballet, jazz, tap dancing, and more. For the tap-dancing, and some jazz performances there was live music which added a cherry on top. The kaleidoscope of genres kept the show refreshing and fun. I am not exaggerating when I say there were no dull moments.

All the dancers performed extremely well. There were dancers as young as, I might say, 5 years old to the oldest being seniors in high school. It was such a joy and privilege to watch all these young performers. It was wonderful to see them flaunt their skills and months of hard work. Despite the sheer number of performers, dance genres, set changes, etc. the show went smoothly. Thereby showing how well organized it was and how much practice the performers had done.

No part of this show was left unpolished. The costumes were simply gorgeous. They had been designed to really shine on stage and make every child look like a professional. The choice of music was tasteful and never boring. The lighting was well done as well as all the fun props and backgrounds.

In the second half of the show, the dances became more festive. There was a plot following the dances and it was a lot of fun. The dancers performed acrobatics, played with giant soft toys, did costume changes, and much more. It was a lively time. Their holiday energy was infectious and the pacing of the dances made the ending really extravagant and over the top in the best way possible.

I am glad I got to see all these extremely talented performers. No praises are enough for them. I know I will be on the lookout for any showcases from the Randazzo dance company!