REVIEW: That Brown Show

That Brown Show, presented by Michigan Sahana, is an annual event that showcases South Asian performance groups at the University of Michigan. The show allows for members of the South Asian community and others to enjoy a night of traditional and not so traditional performances. The night started off with a performance by Michigan Sahana Music, who performed Indian classical music as students showed their skill with various instruments as well as their voices. Also performing a musical number was Maize Mirchi, a South Asian a cappella group that presented a Hindi-English fusion song mix. I really enjoyed watching their performance and loved how they were able to combine songs of different cultures into a cohesive production.

The various dance performances were also very entertaining to watch. Michigan Sahana Dance and Michigan Mayuri both performed Indian classical dances that were traditional in style. Both groups were very skillful and expressive, able to communicate an entire story through dance. Michigan WolveRAAS also performed, mixing traditional regional dance styles with some contemporary elements. Their performance was extremely energetic and very entertaining to watch. South Asian fusion teams Michigan Taal and Michigan Manzaat also danced, mixing Bollywood and South Asian music and dance styles to create incredible and unique programs. The night ended with a series of thank you’s as  WolveRAAS won the judge’s choice award and Manzaat took home the audience choice award. I truly appreciated the sheer variety of performance groups, each of which offered something new to the audience while still highlighting South Asian culture.

REVIEW: A Night at the Burlesque

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the collaborative dance show, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The show was run by Flowdom, a multi-cultural hip hop dance group, and Outrage, a jazz and contemporary dance team. The night started off with a bang as both groups joined together to perform their Burlesque number, accompanied by the songs from the 2010 film.

From there, Flowdom began their series of performances, all of which were meant to reflect various movie genres: Horror, Fantasy, Romance, and Action. They incorporated popular songs and props to help them along the way. My particular favorite was their Nightmare on State Street number (of the Horror genre), which incorporated eerie music, lighting, and dance moves to create an interesting and entertaining dance. Outrage also performed a number of times, although their music varied from upbeat pop songs to softer, more contemporary work. There was talent galore on display as the team performed complicated spins and lifts, accompanied by dazzling costume changes. I particularly enjoyed their dance to Lorde’s song Liability.


The show also featured several other student dance groups throughout the night. These teams included DB3 (an all-male K-Pop/Hip-Hop dance crew), the Dynamic Dolls, who performed majorette style dancing, Salto (a contemporary ballet dance group), and Konnect, a co-ed K-pop dance group. These groups all performed high-energy dances that were met with thunderous applause and cheers. I really appreciated the variety in the guest performances and thought they added to the complex arrangement of the show overall.

The night ended as Flowdom and Outrage partnered up for one last song, I Wanna Dance with Somebody. I could tell both groups had an absolute blast and their joy was expressed clearly through their performances. I had a great time watching the show and can’t wait to see what these groups do next!

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 2022: Roaring 20’s

As the audience slowly filed in to the Power Center last Friday, excited chatter and laughter spread throughout the packed room. Anticipation filled the room as introductions were made, along with a touching tribute to previous students who had graduated without a chance to perform at Dance Mix due to the pandemic. The show started off with a series of energetic performances, as EnCore performed their first set and were followed by Revolution, who gave dazzled with their unique yoyo sequences that were choreographed to the music. Although RhythM Tap Ensemble put on three different sets, I would say my favorite was their Mamma Mia set, where they wore costumes resembling those in the movie. The Michigan Ballroom Dance Team also put on quite a performance, with the pairs completing spin after spin. I also loved the enthusiasm brought by the hip-hop groups KGayo3 and Dance2XS, both of which brought the house down with their fast and complex dance moves and popular music choices. 


The audience remained energetic throughout the show, granting each group a tremendous round of cheers and applause. What made the show stand out to me was that groups from so many different styles of dance were able to come together to create a diverse and entertaining performance. It was also incredible to witness students display their artistic talent as they performed self-choreographed routines. The night ended with a lively and humorous performance by the all-male group FunKtion, who then joined the rest of the groups to take their bows, all coming together to celebrate a very successful show.

REVIEW: UMS 101 Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández

Going to Ballet Folklórico on Sunday, February 6th was one of the best impulsive decisions I have made this year so far. Tucked away in the third-floor balcony seat on the day of the performance, I didn’t realize that my neck is hurting so much from craning to get better until the show was finished. Awestruck by the musical inspiration that the orchestra provided and dazed by the swirling colorful skirts, I found myself registering for the follow-up seminar event, UMS 101: Ballet Folklórico, held at Cahoots on February 9th.

The event was led by Susan Quintanilla, the founder, and director of El Ballet Folklórico Estudiantil. She gave a presentation to deepen the understanding about the performance; ranging from the diversity of dance depending on region, how the dance is a fusion of different cultures and demonstration of stage costumes used in the performance. Up close, the costumes were more colorful and detailed than what I expected when I was seeing the performance. Those layers of laces in skirts! The presentation was accompanied by a band from the same organization consisting of violins, trumpets, a guitarron, a vihuela, and a guitar. Every once in a while, the audience had the pleasure of hearing live music that was mentioned in the presentation. Perhaps the instrument that caught the audience’s attention the most was the guitarron-a gigantic guitar with a convex body that makes woody, deep sounds. It plays a similar role to drum and bass in a rock band setting, although it had the gorgeous and humorous sound that only a wooden string instrument could make.

The scholastic, appreciative atmosphere of the program changed 360 degrees when Ms. Quintanilla invited everyone to learn a few dance moves from the ballet. We learned four or five dance moves and danced under Ms. Quintanilla’s instruction as the band played along. I enjoyed myself highly, although I was glad that the conference room wasn’t surrounded by mirrors as God had not granted me the talent in dancing. The opportunity to dance to great live music was a rare one, so I was highly honored that I could fumble and skip to the gorgeous sound of the band. Even though the audience consisted of people of different ages, all the people seem to be enjoying themselves a lot as they skipped, turned, and explored dance moves. Later, the session ended with a gorgeous singalong lead by the band and free and open questions and answers.

The questions were usually focused on the magical experience that the majority of the audience had experienced in the performance. We learned the secret of how the dancers could change so quickly, that the band follows the dance rather than vice versa, which is very unique, and other backstage stories that only people who have experience of performing dance could have. I couldn’t resist the urge to ask whether the shoes that make the merry ‘clink’ sounds are heavy or not and got a very sincere reply from the performers themselves that it wasn’t heavy at all.

Of course, I became to love the performance even more after learning more about it. Our little dance experience, the awe of listening to the harmony of the band once again, the experience of liveliness, all of it was great but to summarize what I really loved about this special experience in one sentence: I loved that the performance in itself is a celebration of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The ballet included diverse traditional dances from different regions of Mexico. Moreover, the conversion is not limited to the inside of Mexican borders-we watched a German dance performance the band demonstrated a piece of Mexican dance music influenced by music from the video. I’m pretty sure that anyone from any cultural background would find something to love in ballet Folklórico. Next time, if the team hit the town again, please invest an afternoon on it- you’ll have the impulsion, like me, to drive to Flint, the location of the headquarter of the company, to see more of the colorful wonders.


*The Featured image is the promotion image of the dance company that ran the workshop, not the image of the event


REVIEW: Resurgence: We’re Bringing Sexy Back by Pure Dance

Apparently, the dancers at Pure Dance had been busy last semester.

Their annual showcase took place last Sunday evening and featured nine stunning student-made choreographies complete with all the twirls, body rolls, and hair whips you could ask for. Furthermore, we were treated to a diverse range of guest performances by Salto, Gimble, FunKtion, Groove, Blue Bop Jazz, DB3, and Flowdom. Sitting in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater, the energy of the crowd was close-knit and infectious–people were not shy about loudly cheering for their friends on stage. 

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the showcase’s theme coming in, but I found that they were able to present a really interesting curation of dances embodying “resurgence”… and dare I say sexiness?

My favorite number had to be Illusion of Bliss, which was impressively performed in black high heel boots. The contrast between the slow hard beats of the beginning section with these incredibly sensual movements backed by Alicia Keys’ soulful raspy voice and the ending section with the imagery of the dancers sinking to their knees in prayer as she sings “I don’t wanna be a fallen angel” told a compelling story. Meanwhile, Mad at You and War of Hearts approached the concept from a more modern/contemporary angle, with flowing cascades of movement. Like a Boy seemed to pull from old-school hip hop influences with sharp jutting elbows while Toxic had a high-energy hard rock edge such that the dancers were practically throwing themselves into poses.

I also thought the guest performers did an incredible job. Hip hop dance practice videos on Instagram are probably one of my guilty pleasures, so I loved FunKtion’s tight transitions and incorporation of humor as well as Flowdom’s clean hits and charisma. Plus, it was nice to see Blue Bop Jazz’s saxophones hyping each other up during their solos!

The final choreography was Bride, which created some beautiful visuals out of the entire ensemble. The dancers wore a pretty pastel/neutral color palette and had a continual flow of synchronized bodies passing on and off stage, which paired well with the bubbly hopeful music. As a goofy ending note, the showcase fittingly concluded with everyone dancing to Justin Timberlake’s SexyBack for the curtain call.

Congratulations to all the performers who were a part of the event! I look forward to seeing what Pure Dance will bring next.