Clad in bright pink safety vests, dancers freeze and strike poses as the last bars of Cardi B’s “Drip” filter through Tang Theatre. As the mellow opening notes of Flo Milli’s “Roaring 20s” crackle into a heavy, thumping beat, Sarah Wang ’22 and other Hypnotiq members bound across the stage, their movements matching the intensity of the song and eliciting loud cheers from fellow performers.
“Hypnotiq has specifically been known for giving a lot of energy to the audience, trying to have that level of confidence, and empowering audience members as well. I think bringing our energy to the stage is the main thing that we [do]—even if we mess up, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re feeling yourself on stage,” said Wang.
Centring around extravagance, Grasshopper 2021 will feature both traditional and fresh takes on this theme, ranging from sultry expressions of elegance to glamorous exhibitions of magic. Highlighting the range of variety in this year’s selected acts, producer Aleisha Roberts ’22 expressed her hope that audiences will feel that Grasshopper is “back with a bang” and especially appreciate smaller acts that embody extravagance in non-conventional ways.
“We wanted to make this Grasshopper remind people of the talent, flair, and creativity and celebrate our students. I have big hopes for…the traditional big groups that we see often in Grasshopper, but I’m also excited because we have these pianists that I think really fit the bill of extravagance in a different way. We have soloists…who I think do a wonderful job of really capturing the theme,” said Roberts.
One act in particular—the newly-formed band Indigo—introduces a unique take on the theme by delivering extravagance from an emotional perspective. Bassist Sebastian Altomare ’23 of the band states that he enjoys this diversity of approaches to the theme, expressing that this freedom allowed Indigo to focus more on conveying extravagance through their music, rather than their visual aesthetic.
“Not everyone interprets [extravagance] the same way as [each other], wearing gold or doing something physically extravagant. For us, we didn’t go for the ‘gold’ thing, we just did it based on the song—it is extravagant, but it’s also a facade. The way the groups interpreted it was not [just] physical extravagance with chains, gold, and glitter,” said Altomare.
Other performances find different ways to make the ‘extravagance’ their own—for instance, Fusion displays their unique understanding of the theme through artful costume design. Member Mayumi Kawano ’25 points out that the group’s pairing of gold sequins with African textile patterns not only tried to let all performers stand out, but also demonstrated the club’s cross-cultural interpretation of the theme.
“[My costume] definitely called for attention, but it also was somewhat low-key in a way that let other people on stage shine. I think that ties into extravagance; you don’t want to outshine anyone, but you want to shine as equally and as brightly as the others… I’m half-Kenyan, so those patterns are very familiar to me [specifically]. I think mixing them with something that other people are familiar with—glitter—stands out,” said Kawano.
In this year’s Grasshopper, from AzYorkies (Azure and Yorkies) to Slam x Drumline’s collaboration, acts have partnered up to deliver a two-fold punch. Drummer Dakota Chang ’23 expressed that she hopes the original, dual acts will fulfill the theme of extravagance and “amplify each other” to connect with the audience.
“With Slam and Drumline together, we are, as the last act, filling the audience’s sensory experience even more and bringing them from a more ‘peaceful’ [act] to a strong, punchy, and party-like end. Not only do we fulfill [extravagance in] the visual element with drums, we are also trying our best to fill the sensory part of the audience’s experiences and bring the beat to [them],” said Chang.