Arts dance review

Kaleidoscopic colors, flashy lights, exhilarating moves

MIT’s Asian Dance Team presents its fall showcase, Fairytale

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ADT dancers show off their grace and beauty in Harmony.
Erica Weng–The Tech


Choreographed and Performed by MIT Asian Dance Team

La Sala de Puerto Rico, Student Center

December 13 -14

Violet and fuchsia colors swirl around the stage floor in La Sala. The audience chatters excitedly as the colors shift to crystal aqua and golden hues. Suddenly, the scene goes dark — the crowd cheers in anticipation as the dancers get in position, mere shadows shifting around on stage.

MIT’s Asian Dance Team opens its fall showcase Fairytale with a K-pop song, “Stalker,” originally sung and performed by Korean boy band U-KISS (choreography adapted by Dian Mattingly ’18). The dancers show off their slick moves, which include “sexy coughing, intense heart pumping, and heavy breathing into [their] shirts” (from the showcase program), to a dark and moody beat.

Fairytale showcases a total of 17 performances set to a wide variety of Asian music, from Korean hip-hop to traditional instrumental music, even featuring some movie soundtracks. The two-hour show is filled with color, exhillarating music and moves, and enough hooting and howling from the fanatical audience to fill up the MIT night scene.

Even within the genres, there exists a lot of variety. In K-pop, ADT performs the upbeat, feel-good “Happiness,” a mashup of Super Junior’s “Happiness” and Snuper’s “You=Heaven” (choreography adapted by Tracy Cheng ’17). Afterwards comes an intense medley, “JWST” — pronounced “juiced” in good humor — it’s named after the initials of the four choreography adapters: Jessica Sun ’18, Weilian Chu ’17, Shruthi Narayanan G., and Tracy Cheng ’17. This dance showcases “4 minutes of action” from six popular Korean boy bands and girl groups. Second-to-last in the show is the intense, heart-pounding “Before the Dawn” by Infinite (choreography adapted by Danny Tang ’18). In this dance, talented ADT members perform the “the scorpion” dance move, rotating themselves from a prostrate position to a standing position in a levitation-like fashion.

Within traditional Chinese instrumental dances, the beautiful ladies of ADT perform “Uygur Girls,” showcasing flashy pink and gold dresses and upbeat footwork. “Golden Age” (choreography adapted by Xinyi Lucy Chen ’19) showcases whirling red ribbons and elegant white dresses flowing and flashing across the stage. “Harmony” (choreography adapted by Xinyi Lucy Chen ’19) concludes the entire show; dancers elegantly shift across the stage in black-and-white costumes, illustrating the delicate balance between the traditional Taoist themes of yin and yang.

The showcase also includes the instrumental “The Legend of Ashitaka,” (choreographed by Daphne Lin ’19), the theme song from the popular Hayao Miyazaki animated film, Princess Mononoke. Dressed in foresty greens and blacks, dancers sway and move their legs in the fashion of swaying trees, mimicking the grace and beauty of nature that the film itself emphasizes.

ADT Exec gave their own little surprise performance in the middle of the show, involving a walking Christmas tree with feelings, a dancing nutcracker, and a dainty sugar plum fairy in a tutu.

Each day of the show, a different guest group made a performance. At Tuesday’s 9 p.m. showing, Dance Revelasian showcased a beautiful traditional dance. On Wednesday, Harvard’s Asian-American Dance Team and MIT’s Lion Dance Club made an appearance.

Perhaps the biggest “coolness factor” came from the lighting effects, which really brought the oomph and aah into each performance. During the traditional dances, myriad hues illuminated the dancers in a fairy-like glow, accenting costume colors or contrasting sharp shadows. The effect enhanced the delicate movements, such as a pair of hands in the formation of a bird on the verge of flight, or willow-tree bodies swaying to the melody. During the K-pop dances, flashing strobe-effect lighting turned the stage into the set of a music video. Dark reds and cool blues emphasized powerful hip-hop moves, soft pinks and purples brought out body rolls and hair flips. Although at times the flashing lighting obscured the dancers’ faces, it definitely enhanced the “coolness factor” of the dance tenfold.

Colors, lights, grace, beauty, sexy moves — ADT’s Fairytale blew off the roof. The showcase’s success was obvious when you took one look at the audience. Laughter, oohs and aahs, hooting and howling permeated the night; whooping fangirls and fanboys ecstatic to see their peers’ moves on flashy display after months of hard work. ADT does a great job catering to its vast fanbase. “Masters of Ceremony” (hosts) Jack Serrino ’18 and Joshua Scherrer ’18 fill in the gaps between songs with awkward jokes and crude humor to the audience’s fancy. I mean, even the dance descriptions in the showcase program reads, “PSA: don’t terrorize the girl you like until she’s yours” (U-KISS’s “Stalker”).

My only quip with the showcase is that the music could have been of higher quality. Perhaps there was a dearth of quality speakers — certain songs sounded low-quality, which slightly took away from the grace and power of the dancers themselves.

But ADT ultimately achieved its objective with great success: to “express the grace, power, and diversity of various East Asian art forms,” completing the Fairytale theme quite elegantly. The showcase displayed the brilliant talent of MIT students through the beauty and grace of the multitude of Asian Dance forms. The satisfying and overwhelming display has triggered my curiosity about Asian Dance culture, especially about the history behind some of the traditional dances, and I’m definitely going to future showcases.

The performance took place December 13 - 14, in La Sala de Puerto Rico on the 2nd floor of the Student Center.