Rhythmically striking his tap shoes on the floor, Jackson Diodati ’20 performed a tap dance incorporating swift, circular arm motions, earning a standing ovation from the audience. He quickly interchanged complex tap rhythms with his fast-moving feet in contrast to his smooth upper body motions. His tap dance was one of several acts at the Abbot Cabaret last Saturday night.
“I’ve honestly never been in a talent show besides Grasshopper, so [when I heard about Abbot Cabaret] I was like ‘Sure, why not? I’ll tap dance and see how it goes.’ I’m in a tap community called the Speaking in Taps, and it’s run by a guy named Aaron Tolson, and we have learned some choreography, and that was partly also his choreography. I like to consider tap dancing as an instrument, so I just like making music and being a musician,” said Diodati.
Abbot Cabaret was produced by JayShawn Fuller ’17 and Hannah Berkowitz ’17, Abbot Cluster Co-Presidents. All proceeds from the three-dollar admission fee were donated to The Water Project, a non-profit organization that aims to help villages in Ethiopia have access to clean water.
“It was supposed to be a little bit of a joke in that Abbot Cluster, you have to walk far away to go to Abbot, so we decided to choose a charity that would help people get access who have to go very far away to get clean water,” said Berkowitz.
Abbot Cabaret is an annual tradition sponsored by Abbot to foster cluster spirit. This year, due to lighting maintenance, the venue was moved from Tang Theatre to Lower Right in Paresky Commons.
“It’s just a fun opportunity for people to get together and just see all the different kinds of talents that we have at Andover because I know, for myself, as I was watching the auditions happen, there were so many people that came in and then started singing or started playing this instrument, and I had no idea that they did any of that. It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to be able to showcase things that they can do for our community… It shows a different side of campus, a different arena of talent that we don’t normally get to see,” said Fuller.
One act during the event was a solo performance by Karissa Kang ’17. Accompanied by the guitar, Kang sang an original song called “Drinking a Diet Coke,” incorporating witty lyrics dealing with topics of love and drinking soda, which Kang said were relevant to her life in an interview with The Phillipian.
“I decided it would be really nice if I performed my Senior year [in Abbot Cabaret because] you know, Finis Origine Pendet, [the end depends upon the beginning],” said Kang. “I always like being funny. I find that we have a lot of great and beautiful performers, but not many of them are humorous, so I like to get a little humor in there.”
Eliot Min ’19 showcased a beatboxing performance, inspired by a rising beat boxer from Azerbaijan with the stage name Zer0. Ranging from zipper sounds to tweeting birds, he created a wide range of sound effects with diverse rhythm and pace.
“I’ve done a lot beat boxing with Keynotes and Yorkies, but I wanted to show some other stuff that I developed over the past year or so, and I thought a relatively small talent show, like Abbot Cabaret compared to the bigger All-School Meeting talent shows, it would be a really cool way to try out some of my new stuff. I’m glad it turned out so well,” said Min.
Layomi Oloritun ’20 and Tafari Friday ’20 danced to “Woke Up” by Dae Dae, displaying their robotic and hip-hop style moves. The duo synchronized their skilled, self-choreographed movements to the lively, rhythmic music.
“Layomi and Tafari have a special place in my heart as well. Layomi is part of a group called the Junior Hypnotiq at the moment, and Tafari I just know him from dancing, and they practiced so much because they would always be in the dance studio. They were always there, so I was just so ready to see all their hard work pay off. It was awesome,” said Justice Robinson ’18, an audience member.