Arts

Spring Arts Festival Brings Performing Arts Outdoors

The Theater and Dance Department’s first ever outdoor Spring Arts Festival was met with a large turnout at all four venues: the Great Lawn, the Theater Triangle, the Elson Art Center Courtyard and the steps of Samuel Phillips Hall.

Steps of Samuel Phillips Hall

A rhythmic arrangement of “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons invited audience members to clap along as performers Alli Carcoana ’16, Olivia Xiong ’16, Lauren Luo ’16 and Sky Takyi ’16 amplified the song’s beats by stomping and clapping.

One of the other performances of the afternoon was a collaboration by SLAM, Andover’s step group, and Azure, Andover’s all-girl a capella ensemble, which performed a mash-up of Adele’s well-known songs “Someone Like You” and “Rumour Has It.”

“Performing with Azure and SLAM was definitely something new—we decided to perform together because we wanted to make our performance very unique by combining two extremely different groups,” said Esther Cohen ’14, a member of Azure.

Continuing with the trend of unique twists on contemporary hits, siblings Anna Stacy ’13 and Charles Stacy ’16 performed a dynamic violin rendition of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” that ended with Charles Stacy beatboxing during the final chorus.

“We decided to perform in the festival because it is Anna’s last year here, and we thought it would be nice to have one last chance to perform together before she left. I found inspiration from a video of street performers doing ‘I Knew You Were Trouble.’ Personally, my favorite part of the performance was seeing people’s faces when I started beatboxing,” said Charles Stacy.

Great Lawn

The Great Lawn, strewn with colorful strings of balloons, held the majority of the festival’s events, many of which featured acts previously performed at Asian Arts Festival and Dance Open.

Giving the audiences a break from more traditional dance and vocal performances, Lane Unsworth ’15 performed comical renditions of two rap songs, “Get Low” and “My Humps.” Unsworth slowed the songs and set them to a piano accompaniment, provoking laughter from the audience.

“I chose this piece because I thought it would be a truly enlightening experience to make a vulgar rap song into something a little ‘classier,’” said Unsworth.

Many student dance groups such as Like a Buffalo, a student Korean Pop dance group, Blue Strut, Andover’s jazz dance group, and Hypnotiq, Andover’s hip-hop dance troupe showcased similar routines as previously shown in the Asian Arts Festival and Dance Open.

An experimental paint dance conceptualized by Erin Strong, Chair and Instructor in Theatre and Dance, grabbed the attention of many audience members. The dancers, all clad in plain, white V-neck T-shirts, splashed paint on their feet and hands before dancing across a large canvas.

However, the glossy nature of the paint caused some of the dancers to slip and fall as they moved across the canvas.

“I’ve had this idea in mind because when I teach I often talk about it to the dancers. Imagine you have paint on your feet and the shapes that you would be making if you had paint on them, like a circle or a ground or the spatial relation. So then I thought, why not just do it?” said Strong.

Theater Triangle

Comedic skits were hosted in the Theater Triangle, which allowed for experimentation with an open seating environment. The skits featured improvisational skits performed by Under The Bed and two recent DramaLab productions.

“Brah-man,” a DramaLab production, featured Ellie Simon ’15, Jaleel Williams ’15 and Michael Ohakam ’15. The act explained the struggle of Ohakam’s character to appropriately use the slang terms, “brahs” and “man.” Set in New England, California and Russia, the act humorously addressed cases where people are extremely sensitive to the use of colloquial titles such as “bro” or “man.”

“[Even though] we came towards the end, from what I saw, I would say that it was one part perplexing, one part ridiculous and one part funny. It turned out to be an entertaining performance,” said Lilia Cai-Hurteau, Instructor in Chinese.

“3 a.m. Wake-Up Call,” the second DramaLab of the day, was led by Theodore Perez ’16, whose drunk character accidentally killed a prostitute and proceeded to hit a pimp unconscious with a squash racquet .

In between the UTB performance and the Drama Labs, Lydia Godo-Solo ’13 read her poem, “Shameless Plug,” which addressed issues of fear.

The Theater Triangle area was also used as a venue for a student artworks exhibition. A handful of student painters, photographers and videographers showcased different artforms to the public, many of the pieces hung from strings between the trees.

Workshops

Besides showcasing dance and musical talents across campus, the festival also offered two workshops, the Drum Line workshop and the stage combat workshop, to allow interested students to get a feel for new artistic forms.

Set up on the Great Lawn, The Drum Line workshop, run by Co-Head Scott MacDonald ’15, Co-Head Indira Sanchez ’14 and member Sam Shapiro ’16, invited students coming through the entrance to try out different beats on a set of a dozen drums of different sizes.

“I’ve been playing [drums] since middle school. We just want to show how much fun playing the drums can be,” said Sanchez.

A little further down on the Great Lawn path was the stage combat workshop.

The workshop, led by Adam McLane, a professional stage combat coach, gave interested students the chance to learn several tricks in the art of theatrical fighting.

McLane started the class by teaching the students more simple movements, such as taps on the chest, before gradually moving on to bigger routines like widespread slaps with sound effects.

“I really liked it. It was fun, and it was really informative. Now I know how I can mess with my little brother,” said Sabrina Rivers ’14.