Wednesday’s Daily Campus made its center stage debut at Jorgensen as the first prop in the UConn tap team’s 11th annual showcase Wednesday evening.
The team started with a number inspired by crime and classic detective fiction and held copies of the paper in front of their faces as the stealthy theme to 60s police TV show “Peter Gunn” created an air of mystery in the auditorium.
Soon, the papers were crumbled and tucked away inside the ensemble’s trench coats as the team jumped into action, sneaking around the stage with an assortment of clandestine movements. As the final bass chords of “Peter Gunn” faded, the all too familiar rhythmic triangle of the “Pink Panther” took over, continuing the crime theme and creating the melody behind “Gumshoes and Tapshoes,” the choreography Boston based dance instructor Ryan P. Casey designed for the team.
The showcase featured the 18 members of the UConn tap team, but also highlighted the local talent Moosup, Connecticut Danceworks Dance Centre’s senior repertory company. The ladies of Danceworks performed a variety of styles of dance from class jazz in Redbone’s “Witch Queen of New Orleans” to a sassy hip hop number to Kanye West’s “Monster.” Other special guests included a Delta Epsilon Psi fraternity, UConn BAILE and Static Noyze.
Despite the talent of the special guests, the UConn tap team stole the show with their energetic and diverse performances. While the first group number “Gumshoes and Tapshoes” set the bar high, the team continued to impress throughout the show. The second number “Raging Fire” was choreographed by team member and senior Emily Gauthier and featured Carolynn Palmero, Jackie Baril and Emily Spinelli. Unlike “Gumshoes and Tapshoes” this dance was performed with soft shoes and focuses on elegance, rather than dazzle. The four dancers floated around the stage in a glow of red and orange, while the popular Phillips Phillips song provided an uplifting backdrop to the movements.
Following “Raging Fire” a portion of the team performed a skillful number to The Weeknd’s “Earned It.” The song, written for “50 Shades of Gray,” allowed for powerful and sensual movements that captured the audience’s attention. The lyrics “you make it seem like magic” seemed all too true during the performance.
After the sensual performance of “Earned It” the team performed classic jazz standard “Sing, Sing, Sing” a song which was described as challenging and fast paced. The number featured frenetic movements and high spirits, as the dancers dazzled in sequined bodices. Following the theme of glitz and enegery, after the intermission, the team picked up where “Sing, Sing, Sing” left off with a “Burlesque Melody” featuring songs from the popular film. The dances included classic burlesque movements as well as modern takes on the dance form.
The last two performances were departures from the classic styles of the latter two performances, “Flawless Move It and Drop it Low” focuses on hip-hop and pop dancing rather than tap shoes, but thrilled the crowd nonetheless. When Beyoncé’s “Flawless” came on, the audience cheered relentlessly until the classic line “I woke up like this” dropped.
Senior dance “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” shook things up with a techno style remix of the swing styled song. Seniors Emily Gauthier and Jackie Baril choreographed the dance and danced alongside fellow seniors Katie Falvey, Cassie Guerin, Leah Heald and Taylor Robichaud.
The final performance was entitled “Chameleon” and was an a capella style dance that just featured the sound of tap shoes, allowing the audience to focus on the complex movements the team was making rather than the music. The choreography featured the entire ensemble clad in bright colors and neon hair bows.
Following the showcase, the team’s six seniors were honored for their final performance and contribution to the team by the underclassmen and President Danielle Watters.