Stuyvesant High School’s annual Stuy Squad dance show opened with a warm welcome from the host, senior Natalyah Morgan. Due to time conflicts arising from the STC’s winter comedy and SING!, the dance showcase, usually held in January, was pushed back until Wednesday, March 28th. Directed and led by senior Suzy Kim and juniors Christy Ku and Sidney Bynum, Stuy Squad 2012 fell short compared to the previous years’ because of the lack of preparation stemming from the time conflict. The vice-president of Stuy Squad, Ku said, “There was significantly less time for each crew to bond with each other. It even felt like SING! all over again because we only had three weeks to finish everything and struggled to remember our routines from a month before.” However, despite the obstacles, Stuy Squad remained entertaining with an eclectic array of dances.
Belly dance, directed by sophomores Anan Kazi and Nazifa Islam, opened the show with energetic synchronized hip twists and shimmies shaking to the alluring beats of Middle Eastern music. The most impressive parts of the performance, however, were the glittering black and rose pants with matching coin belts, handmade by Kazi’s mother herself.
The next dance, Girl’s Hip Hop B, was introduced by an awkward game, “Guess the Next Act,” in which Morgan, the host, acted out a snippet of the upcoming performance and the audience had to guess, as the name implies. The initiative to interact with the audience was laudable, but the lame response from the audience set a precursor for the dance to come. Girl’s Hip Hop B, directed by junior Elizabeth Gorodetsky, started off hasty and with a lack of energy, and only picked up slightly with the second song. The dance was ultimately mediocre, especially compared to the synchronized belly dance, but the girls remained smiling throughout the performance, drawing enthusiasm from the crowd.
The next set of dances, including Tap (directed by junior Tony Scott) and Latin (directed by sophomores Christine Xu and Sam Fuchs), was impressive and unique, but also lacked energy. Scott’s quick leading taps and the Latin couple’s charisma were commendable; however, the transitions between each performance were rough and resulted in a drop of energy that, unfortunately, did not lift with the upcoming dance. Seo, the Boy’s Hip Hop co-director, attempted to liven the atmosphere through his witty banter with the host. “I don’t want to pick on you guys, but I think you’re dancethetically challenged,” Seo said.
The second half of the show validated Ku’s upbeat take on the show’s level of success. “When the show turned out to be a thousand times better than what we had expected, it was the best feeling ever,” she said after the show. Directed by juniors Teresa Huang and Isabella Zelechenko, Girl’s Hip Hop C was one of the most eye-catching performances of Stuy Squad. With unique choreography and powerful dancing, the performance rejuvenated the show. The dance was full of attitude, with vibrant military-esque costumes to match.
Contemporary and Step followed the girls. The two dance crews were introduced as crowd-favorites, and lived up to the description. Contemporary, directed by sophomore Lina Dahbour and senior Doria Choi, was dressed simply with white shirts and black pants, but awed the crowd with leaps, jumps, and splits to Adele’s fiery hit single, “Set Fire to the Rain.”
Step, directed by Bynum and junior Calvin He, was the most synchronized dance of the showcase. Full of innovative stomping and drumsticks, the act was reminiscent of Junior SING!’s highly regarded step performance. The dancers left the stage chanting, “Stuy Squad 2012.”
Next came two of the most highly anticipated dances due to the known talent of many of the dancers, Girl’s Hip Hop A, directed by Ku, and Boy’s Hip Hop, directed by Seo and junior Kevin Park. Both were perfectly in sync with unique choreography to match. The most impressive part of Girl’s Hip Hop A was their ability to transition between the sassy songs smoothly. This was a problem seen in many of the earlier dances, leading to shakiness that was difficult to watch. Luckily, these two hip-hop dances did not have the same problems.
Directed by junior Sreshta Paranji and senior Vani Upadhyaya, the last expected dance was Indian, a colorful and vibrant ending to a show that picked up in pace as it progressed. Flashing lights and energetic cultural music accompanied various foreign dance formations. After Indian’s act came to a close and the audience began to pack up to leave, viewers were met with a pleasant surprise– the director’s dance, an addition that was never before seen in Stuy Squad. All the directors gathered on stage and alternately came to the center to perform snippets. The show ended in happy chaos and dancing on stage, reminiscent of SING!’s spirit song.
Despite harsh time constraints and confusion, Stuy Squad 2012 was ultimately a satisfactory 45-minute performance. Albeit slow and rough in the beginning, it gained momentum and displayed all the talent and enthusiasm Stuyvesant students have to offer. “When I was a freshman, so many club interest meetings that I went to convinced me to join because they offered the feeling of being in a family, or a place I could fit in. However, I didn’t feel any of those promises until the day I joined Stuy Squad,” she said. “Performing is such a rewarding experience, and I feel so fortunate to have found something to keep me going in high school.”