Presenting StuySquad 2022-2023

Stuyvesant hosted StuySquad 2022-2023, a showcase of Stuyvesant’s dance crews, in the Murray Khan theater on January 20.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cover Image
By Aditya Anand

Stuyvesant hosted StuySquad 2022-2023, an annual showcase of Stuyvesant’s dance crews, in the Murray Khan theater on January 20. The performance highlighted 11 of these crews: boys’ hip-hop, modern, Bollywood, step, girls’ K-pop, girls’ hip-hop, flow blanc, flow noire, Latin, C-pop, and co-ed K-pop. This year, StuySquad returned to being fully in-person after two years of performing virtually, and almost every seat was full—the biggest turnout in StuySquad history. Tickets were $7 each, and the proceeds of $4,000 will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Preparations for the show began with crew member selections. Following selections, members of the various dance crews practiced the choreography multiple times a week. This was a time-consuming process; choreographers in particular devoted significant time to practicing and developing a routine. “I go to school every day, and I come to the back of the first [floor] for practice up until 5:00 [p.m.] for pretty much every day of the week leading up to StuySquad. And it’s like continuous practice, [where] I also might practice a little bit at home if I have time,” freshman and flow blanc member Lina Zheng said.

A month before the show’s scheduled time, the date of the performance was changed to January 20, two weeks before the original date. As a result, members and directors of StuySquad dance crews had to prepare under a greater time constraint. “Since the show got pushed earlier, we were getting everyone to try to come to our prop practices so they could actually learn clean and perfected choreo. And because they had other commitments as well, it was really hard for them to balance their own time,” junior and flow director Karen Chen said.

The expedited show date also created organizational issues. “We were initially given the date of February 3, and that’s what we told our crews, but then [Coordinator of Student Affairs Matt] Polazzo figured that it may not be the best time to do it that late since SING! is starting around the same time,” senior and StuySquad co-president Sukanya Ferguson said. “We moved it up to January 20 [...] but everyone was already accustomed to the February 3 date, so the biggest [challenge] was getting everything done in that short amount of time.”

Despite the challenges, the members were ultimately able to finalize their choreographies and successfully perform onstage. “A lot of the crews did feel a bit rushed, but they all did it amazingly and were able to pull through. [The deadline] had everyone stressing out because we had less time to prepare, but it still went out like a bang. I think this is one of our biggest StuySquad [performances] yet,” Ferguson said.

While the final product might not have exactly met the organizers’ expectations, many audience members thoroughly enjoyed the show. “It was a lot cooler than I expected,” sophomore Andrea Wang said. “The dances were all really good [...], the lighting was surprisingly good […] and the MCs did a good job of riling everyone up.”

Moreover, for many StuySquad members, performing in front of an in-person audience was incomparable to any other experience. “The live audience made it very different from any of the rehearsals we did,” senior and Latin member Oliver Hollmann said. “It added the adrenaline rush that you get from doing something in front of people.”

While the StuySquad season only lasts a few months, many participants created new bonds that will last beyond the performance. “You get to meet really cool people and join this close-knit community,” Chen said. “We have really cool events for flow, especially after StuySquad where we have a lot of bonding activities and [team] lunch and dinners.”

The outcome of the live performance assured members that their hard work paid off. “My favorite part of this season was easily working with some new kids,” senior and Bollywood director Anjini Katari said. “When given the option between harder and easier choreo, everyone wanted the harder one and worked and practiced for it. [...] I’m a perfectionist, especially when it comes to dance, but looking at how the crew did, I wouldn’t change a thing. Everyone exceeded my expectations.”

Though directing and participating in StuySquad was a time-consuming process, performers still found the process incredibly rewarding. “My experience overall was really good even though it was an emotional roller coaster, with people dropping out and having a lot in my workload,” junior and Bollywood assistant director Mehruba Tithi said. “[Changing] from being a member to an assistant director was really stressful at first, but I had so much fun, and all the work that we did paid off in the best way possible.”

With the end of StuySquad 2022-2023, leadership encourages students of all grades to join the community in future performances. “I highly recommend everyone to join [any] crew in general, really, because the feeling of being on stage is unmatched,” Tithi said. “I think that’s something that every single Stuy student should experience once in their Stuyvesant lifetime.”