Arts and Entertainment

StuySquad 2019!

This article focuses on all of the different crews of StuySquad and how they performed.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Hundreds of high school students waited nervously for their chance to be up on stage, performing in front of many more hundreds of their peers on the night of January 19. They had been practicing their choreography for months in advance, and it was finally time to show what they could do. When the music started playing, they danced their hearts out, every move contributing to the radiant atmosphere that was on stage and in the audience. StuySquad 2019 is a show featuring a series of performances by various dance groups with crews ranging from hip hop to contemporary dance to awesome light shows that illuminate the auditorium.

I had never watched StuySquad before, but I had seen crew members practicing on all floors after school, so I was looking forward to seeing them perform. Before the show even started, I knew it was going to be exciting as they played hip hop music while all the students and parents began piling in the auditorium. Classmates were waving their friends over as they claimed a few seats each, while others weren’t so lucky and had to scout for somewhere to sit.

As two hosts walked onto the empty stage and announced the first performance, the audience exploded into cheers immediately. Everyone was ready to lose their voices and get the show started. Boys Hip Hop took the stage in their gleaming blue jackets, black jeans, and white shoes. I thought it was extremely cool how they all matched and looked like a pack of boys from the ‘80s or ‘90s. They danced to several different songs, all with impressive beats to which everyone cheered along with. The boys were very synchronized, jumping, kicking, and moving their arms at the same time. Some songs started out slower and they moved their heads and arms very smoothly, and suddenly the music would increase its pace and the performers would tag right along with it. It was amazing how much energy the boys had.

“Before the performance I was nervous as heck,” said freshman Pranav Paranji, who was part of the Boys Hip Hop performance. “During the performance I was in the zone; it felt so good. Looking back, it was super fun and I wish I could perform again. It flew by so quickly.”

As Boys Hip Hop left the stage, Girls Hip Hop charged right in with their matching red jackets, black jeans, and white shoes. All of the hip hop performers had essentially the same outfit but with jackets of different colors. The girls captivated us just as much as the boys did: every arm movement was synchronized, every step, turn, and jump was perfectly planned. They didn’t look a bit tired as one song ended and the next began with just as much movement. For some songs, the main girls in the center would carry out some moves while the ones to the side and in the back would be the accompaniment. Just as I thought the girls were finished performing, the boys came back in and they all finished with amazing energy. Starting off with hip hop was a great idea by the producers: it got everyone hyped up and ready for more performances.

As soon as the curtain opened for Latin, the audience began shouting madly, because they saw boys and girls paired up, looking as if they were going to dance romantically, waiting for the music to begin. As the romantic music started, the boys in their black suits held the hands of the girls, who were in matching blue dresses. They stepped, twirled, and smiled at each other, giving the impression that every pair was actually a couple. The boys and girls all lined up in one line and lifted their partners in the air, who began soaring majestically. In the middle, they all went toward the back of the stage except for two boys who got on both sides of a girl, and they grabbed her and flipped her in the air, landing her perfectly. This got the audience members so pumped and they cheered even louder than before. More stunts like this continued, as girls jumped back and the boys caught them all at the same time. The trust and courage that the girls must have had was huge. This kind of performance was feel-good and not too fast, so the audience absorbed every move with great interest.

Flow, which is a group that performs with glow-sticks and LED lights in the dark, was next. The lights started off as purple and blue, and were twirled majestically in very fast circles; then they changed to green and blue. Yellow lights came next, and the performers moved them together, creating a picture. Then a multicolored light emerged from the darkened stage, which was much brighter than the other lights. The audience screamed with glee as this light came out, spinning in circles and figure eights. Next, people carried out sticks with white and red lights at each end, and they spun them around, throwing them to each other without dropping them. The finale was great; a diabolo was handled on a sting that was lit up. The person handling it threw it up, spun it around, and caught it perfectly. All of the performances so far had been so unique and special in their own way.

STEP involved boys and girls creating a percussive beat by slapping and clapping. This may have been the biggest group so far. All of the performers wore black T-shirts and pants, and they stepped, shouted, clapped, and slapped at the same time, their arms moving perfectly in sync with each other’s. It must have taken a long time to get all of these steps at the same time, and I was impressed by how no one messed up and all the sounds were perfectly matched.

“I remember as a freshman I was really nervous but now it doesn’t take as long to memorize the steps,” said junior Yaru Luo, who has been a part of STEP for three years. As STEP walked off, I got ready to clap but to my surprise, even more performers walked in under a red light wearing red shirts. They continued the routine through a series of fast claps and slaps. I liked that there was no background music so the audience could really focus on the beat.

Kpop was the last group to perform, throwing red confetti to start off, then going into a series of slow motion moves that eventually sped up into fiery leg kicks and arm thrusts. They all joined hands and danced together, a perfect mix of red and black. They waved their arms around in a circle, spread them out, and stepped all across the stage with such passion, ending at the same pose. The audience exploded into cheers. What a dramatic end to an amazing show!

If you didn’t see StuySquad 2019, be sure to check in next year, because the passion and energy brought by this performance was incredible. These performers worked extremely hard every day for hours, while having fun and making incredible memories. “The practices were almost every single day from after 10th to 5:00 p.m., but we weren’t just drilling the entire time; we were also bonding,” Luo said. If you want to perform in a hell of a show and bond with crews that might become like your family, StuySquad is a great choice!