‘Delirium’ – UCLU Dance Society infects the Bloomsbury…in a good way.
Opening night for Dance Society showcases the best of UCL talent.
When the curtains go up and there’s a nun, a hobo and a couple of road sweepers at a bus stop, you know it’s going to be a good show. What I didn’t expect, however, when I was sitting in the packed Bloomsbury Theatre last night, was for this humour to become part of something so captivating, so impressive, that I’m genuinely considering going to see it again.
Infected by the dance bug, these performers can’t seem to resist the rhythm, ‘Everyday I’m Shuffling’-style. LMFAO has nothing on this lot.
The concept, devised by Director Chiara Petrosellini and Assistant Director Glennis LaRoe, permitted the amalgamation of styles and cultures whilst maintaining coherence as a show. The medicinal theme also allowed for a number of ‘inside’ RUMS jokes, which the medics in the audience absolutely loved. Almost as much as they love cadavers.0
The show kicked off with 70s disco (the only way to begin any show really), as the dancers warmed up the crowd with a few old school toe-tappers. The set, kept very minimalist, worked to great effect as the white screen backdrop illuminated the dancers’ silhouettes so that every arm extension, every pliée, seemed that little bit more defined.
The entire production was shaped by subtle changes in lighting and a smoke machine, which somehow managed to completely transform the entire mood and atmosphere on stage. Now that requires some serious artistic skill.
However, the moment which had the audience knowing how good this show was about to get was when the soft white light created that 20s glow as a group of tap dancers jazzed their way onto the stage. Polished and professional with an astonishing sense of rhythm, they managed to tap away to beats I didn’t even know existed. And when the strobe lighting turned this smooth jazz into a club-rave-hybrid, it became clear that the quality of the show was worth way more than the £5 everyone paid to get in.
In keeping with UCL’s reputation of being a bit too cool and alternative for our own good, their music choice was refreshing and un-clichéd. So if you’re expecting every street dance number to be to a FLO RIDA track, think again. French rap fuelled their moves in this show as well as a multitude of other great songs which I was very tempted to Shazam whilst in the theatre (if it weren’t for the fact I would’ve been kicked out for using my phone). And suddenly, the grind-worthy hip-hop beats morphed into stunning classical ballet which was performed with such perfection that any one of the dancers could have been Russian prodigies. They danced so effortlessly in their Swan-lake-esque black costumes that it made ballet look deceptively easy. It also made me want to buy a tutu. In fact, when it came to costume their outfits were as well co-ordinated as their feet. No corners were cut with every group wearing completely identical attire. And for once, that didn’t just mean a bunch of Primark camis.
The music became slightly more mainstream in the ‘street-dance in the classroom’ scene (well, I suppose we were musically naive in those days). The guy in front of me, however, was very pleased by this as he couldn’t stop his head from bopping along. I even had to refrain myself from joining him. The dancing skill here was of a particularly high standard, as they mixed humour with fast-paced, energetic moves before actually making the audience go ‘awww’ with an emotive Bruno Mars number.
Although I probably enjoyed the first half more, as I was completely blown away by the tap and ballet numbers, the second half played on the storyline a lot more as they took us on a tour of these ‘infected people’ around the world. So from tribal to samba to bollywood, the UCL Dance Society really showcased just how diverse we are here at UCL. They also demonstrated that we can have real character, with a feisty girl-power number as well as the boys showing that ‘they got swag’. And trust me, when the hoodies went up, the attitude came out.
Choreography was so well conceived for the entire show that I’m sure it could rival that of any professional production and definitely out-perform the majority of student dance groups. To be honest, before seeing the show I thought it would be good, but simply as good as any university dance society could get. Aka relying on their star performers to fill the awkward group numbers with countless solos. But that’s not at all what ‘Delirium’ offers. The standard was incredibly high and skilfully maintained throughout the entirety of the two hours, with such impressive group synchronisation and rhythmic awareness. It makes you proud to think that this level of creative talent exists at our university.
And it wasn’t just the dancers that stimulated my UCL pride; it was also the incredibly supportive audience who would cheer for their friends (if not slightly drunkenly at times), bop along to the music and chuckle in unison at the awkwardly creaky safety curtain.
Speaking to the Assistant Director, Glennis LaRoe, after the show, she told me that the purpose of the show was not just to showcase the Dance Society’s talent, but to also encourage more students to join. Everyone in the show varied in terms of dancing experience and ability, yet all were featured equally which made me realise that Dance Soc is probably one of the most inclusive societies at UCL.
So friends, I implore you, go and see this show. Even if you tend to feel more at home in Mully’s Basement, jamming to electro-rock and thinking “dance is so not my thing”, yes even you in the red skinny jeans, will not be disappointed by ‘Delirium’. In fact, anyone with at least some level of appreciation for good performance will enjoy the show, I can guarantee you that. And you never know; it may awaken a hidden passion for dance fostered deep inside the very depths of your soul. Or at the very least, you may be able to learn a thing or two from them before your next trip to Moonies.