Opposites Attract: Grasshopper Night 2011

Grasshopper Night brought audience members into a whirlwind of song, dance and theater last weekend, as various groups collaborated to form a synthesis of acts all to the theme of “opposites attract.”

The June Bugs, a band comprised of Amo Manuel ’14, Junius Williams ’14 and Harvey Wu ’14, served as the house band and welcomed audience members with a pre-show jazzy music set.


As Wu played the piano, Manuel created a deep rhythm on the bass, with Williams accompanying the two on the drum set. 


Although their performance was improvised, The June Bugs collaborated so well that their act did not seem impromptu.


Graydon Tope ’14, who attended the show, said, “The June Bugs were fantastic. Their music set up the stage really well and their arrangements were upbeat.”


Dynamic duo Pearson Goodman ’13 and Hemang Kaul ’13 emceed Grasshopper nigh and kicked off the show in song, introducing themselves as “ebony and ivory.”


With their natural charisma, Goodman and Kaul provided comical and entertaining segues between the performances.


“It was natural. They had really good chemistry,” said Josselyn De Leon ’13. “They were being themselves up on stage.”


“This year we [had] two amazing MCs,” said Eliana Kwartler ’12, one of the producers of this year’s Grasshopper Night. “For a few years now, [Grasshopper has] become this thing where the show kind of revolves around the M.C.’s.”


She continued, “But this year, I think it [was] more about the acts and the strengths of the acts.”


Taking the stage with vigorous and clean rhythms, the dance groups SLAM and Footnotes came together in a bullies-versus-nerds scene for the first act of the night. 


SLAM and Footnotes are very different dance groups; one is a step dance team, the other a tap dance group. However, the two groups overcame their differences to create a cohesive act.


Creating a medley of rhythms with loud forceful slamming complemented by bouncy tapping, SLAM and Footnotes initially faced off in a dance off and then arrived at a reconciliation in which each group mirrored the moves of the other.


Erin Strong, Chair of Theatre and Dance department, said, “The directors really wanted to make it clear for having people explore the theme in various ways of collaborating and doing things they wouldn’t otherwise do.” 


Creating a blend of acoustic and rock, brothers Alec D’Alelio ’14 and Drew D’Alelio ’12 immersed the audience in a rhapsody of guitars. 


As Drew played lively and melodious tunes on his acoustic guitar, Alex simultaneously complemented the music on his electric guitar.


After the show, Ashlyn Aiello ’14 said, “The guitar brothers showed some really great talent, and their introduction was funny.”


Grasshopper then took a twist from a heart-pumping musical act to a graceful, mellow dance act. 


Accompanying the elegant ballet of dancers Graham Johns ’14, Maddie Kim ’12, Madeline Silva ’13 and Noel Um ’12, Pietro Bondi ’12 sang an song in Italian that he composed himself.


Strong said, “The juxtaposition of the classical ballet with more of this folky singer-songwriter type song [was] a really interesting change to see on stage.”


As Bondi’s song became more dynamic, the dancers responded with energetic springs and leaps.


Next, female a cappella group Azure created opposites that came together within their own group through a song mash-up, complemented by their dynamic costumes.


With half of the group wearing preppy dresses and the other half wearing biker apparel, Azure sang a medley of “Gives You Hell” by the All American Rejects and “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5.


Gaelyn Golde ’13 and Chelsea Ward ’12 were featured as soloists in “Gives You Hell” and “I Want You Back,” respectively. The two initially took turns singing individually, then later harmonized the two songs.


With spirited gestures and animated voices, Azure engulfed the stage with much energy. “It [was] amazing what [Azure] incorporat[ed] with their energy,” said Strong.


“This year, [the directors] really want[ed] to get the acts up to a high level of performance of entertaining the audience, so it’s not just going through and sounding on perfect pitch and doing the perfect pirouette, but also engaging them as performers and actors,” she continued.


Under a spotlight on the center stage, Jackie Murray ’13 delivered an amusing but intentionally prosaic spoken word poem about opposites. 


With overly dramatic expressions and gestures, it was almost as if Murray performed slam poetry, yet, halfway through, the act took a sharp and surprising twist.


Arianna Chang ’13 jumped out of the audience seemingly spontaneously and, to Murray’s dismay, proceeded to critique Murray’s poetry.


Amid the heated atmosphere, Chang and Murray engaged in a hilarious rap battle, which featured emphatic gestures, dance and witty verses.


Another dynamic act took the stage with the collaboration of the dance groups Blue Strut and Hypnotiq. While Blue Strut is an modern dance group, Hypnotiq features more hip-hop style dance.


Accompanied by contemporary pop music, Blue Strut and Hypnotiq engaged in a dance off. 


As Hypnotiq performed electrifying and vigorous dance moves, Blue Strut gracefully yet strongly leaped across the stage with more elegant moves.


The two came together in the end and blended their moves, but all the while retaining their distinctively different styles.


In the end of one transition, Goodman left Kaul on stage alone, allowing Kaul to step smoothly into the role of singer and took the stage with the Yorkies, Andover’s all-male a capella group.


The Yorkies created musical harmony with the performance of “Use Somebody” by the Kings of Leon, featuring four of their members, Kaul, Angelo Morlani ’13, Peter Nelson ’12 and Min Jae Yoo ’12, as soloists.


With the departure of so many seniors, the Yorkies this year, led by co-heads Morlani and Yoo, had to make do with a host of new voices. They successfully achieved a tight, melodic and harmonious piece.


“The highlight of our Grasshopper Night [was] probably all of the unique voices we [had] in the group working together to deliver a killer performance,” said Morlani, “From Ben Croen [’13], the highest voice in the group, to Kennedy Edmonds [’12], one of the lowest, everyone [blended] together quite nicely.”


The Yorkies provided an impressive and captivating closure for this year’s Grasshopper Night. However, the show’s exuberant finale epitomized the zeal and passion of all of the performers.


Coming from a wealth of different acts with different genres, all the Grasshopper performers came together in dance and song, bringing their unique styles and movements with them. 


Through the lively finale, Grasshopper took all the varying performances of the evening and rolled them into one cohesive act.


“The finale [was] awesome, and there [was] no one act that [stood] out as the absolute best,” said Kwartler, “They [were] all really strong.”


Katherine Vega ’14 said, “I thought Grasshopper was great. I didn’t have a chance to go last year, but it really lived up to the hype, and no one in my family was disappointed.”


“All the acts matched the theme perfectly, as did the dialogues in between acts. The whole thing was really enjoyable and well put-together,” she continued.


Sarah Lee ’13 and Caroline Sambuco ’14 contributed reporting.


Check out our [photo gallery]( for a selection of photos from the Grasshopper dress rehearsal taken by Phillipian photographers.


Yorkies’ Grasshopper 2011 performance of _Use Somebody_ (Kings of Leon):