Dance performances, which showcased a diverse set of talent across several University dance groups, wowed the crowd on Friday, April 10 at the Michigan Theater. Some captured the crowd’s attention with glow sticks or breakdancing, and others commanded the stage with their tap soles and pirouettes.
Almost as captivating as the graceful and powerful movements were the strategic costume choices. Many dance groups form costume committees to discuss a certain look for a performance. Some groups will brainstorm ideas and then allow the dancers to choose a comfortable option that fits within their theme. Other committee heads will choose identical costumes for each member.
Some clothing choices were simple and nondescript, allowing the dance to carry the show forward. Salto, a ballet and lyrical group, wore basic black leotards and long skirts to accentuate their classical, streamlined movements. Others, like Michigan Izzat, chose outfits that played along with their storytelling dance. The men wore sequined sailor outfits for their “Pearl Harbor” performance, tying in their themes of adventure and brotherhood.
And, of course, there were groups who just looked effortlessly cool.
Contemporary company, Impact Dance, and modern group, Cadence, leaned toward simple, black attire that allowed for easy movement. In turn, the audience focused on their technical movements, which were highlighted against stark backgrounds. The clothing allowed their flowing and gravitational movements to seem all the more angular and expressive in Impact’s performance to Beyoncé’s “Haunted” and Cadence’s dance to “Wait” by M83.
The Michigan Bhangra Team performs traditional dances from the state of Punjab, India to preserve the core values of their culture. The members were outfitted in bright colors with beautiful embellishments, typical of Punjabi attire. The team wore traditional muteyaar, which LSA junior and member Howie Magaro said is essential for the traditional folk dance.
“I think the costume contributes a lot to the whole presentation. It’s very colorful and it brings a pop to the performance,” he said.
FunKtion, the first all-male, multicultural hip-hop dance group on campus, brought the cool to Dance Mix with smooth moves, hilarious stage presences and flawless costumes. The boys sported mock varsity jackets and khakis for their first performance and later rolled out in custom boiler suits. The looks begged for the comparison to the T-Birds from “Grease.”
EnCore, a co-ed hip-hop group, gave a strong performance to go along with their “Career Day” set. Each dancer wore some variation of children’s clothing: overalls, denim or primary colors. Engineering freshman and member Allison Goss said the denim and primary colors allowed them to look youthful but still could transition into some of the sexier routines. The movements flow from what the dancers put on their bodies.
“If you’re comfortable in a costume, you dance better,” Goss said. “If we don’t feel the movement while we are wearing our costumes, it won’t portray well with the audience.”
The routines at Dance Mix were inspirational and entertaining and endless hours of practice and physical strength were needed to pull off such an excellent show. However, the costumes cannot be forgotten as an essential part to any performance. Clothing allows free movement so every dance move is enhanced — every grand jeté more graceful and every crump more powerful.