WUSauce presents Dance-Off: A Night at the Oscars

Isabella Neubauer | Senior Cadenza Editor

Friday night’s Dance-Off: A Night at the Oscars was truly spectacular. For two hours, Washington University dance groups of all different styles—and an a cappella group, the Aristocats—performed in Tisch Commons, competing to be named “Wash. U.’s best.”

WUSauce, Wash. U.’s premier salsa group, hosted the event and started off the show at 6:45 p.m. with free salsa lessons for the audience. About a dozen people danced as the room slowly started filling up with students eager to see the night’s show.

Once the salsa lessons had concluded, it was time for the main event. Before each performance, the hosts—WUSauce members junior Brenton Graham and junior Olivia Fehrmann—awarded the upcoming group with a silly superlative and gave them a miniature Oscar.

WUSauce—though they did not give themselves a trophy—started off the show with what would be their first of three performances. The next group to perform was Garba, Wash. U.’s all-female Garba dance group, winning “most fashionable dance group.” And fashionable they certainly were—each dancer wore a flowing blue skirt with silver bangles that jangled and twirled as they danced. In the middle of their routine set to traditional Indian music, Garba abruptly transitioned to M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls Do It Well,” a song that still managed to lend itself perfectly to their high-energy dance.

PL4Y took the stage after Garba, winning “the most K-pop group,” a shockingly creative award for the night’s only K-pop act. Wearing a very modern combination of olive green and black, PL4Y’s synchronized performance highlighted many different members of their group as they danced to popular Korean music.

“The group with the most swing,” Swing Theory, performed next, taking the audience back in time as they danced in black and white suits and dresses to music of a bygone era.

Sazon, an acrobatic salsa group from St. Louis University came onstage next to spice up the show. Voted “the most flavorful dance group,” they danced to a Spanish cover of “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” and their costumes reflected that circus pizazz. The men’s shirts had red sequins down the sleeves, and the women’s mesh shirts were sprinkled with stars. Their performance gained intensity with the song—the couples breaking apart to march and shout “Hey! Hey!” with the music during the chorus. By the end, the couples had re-formed, and the women were picked up and spun in midair a shocking four times for the finale.

WUSauce then took the stage again, performing a spicy number complete with short black feather skirts for the women and sharp red shirts for the men. After that impressive number, the event took a brief intermission.

The show picked back up with “the best singing dance group that doesn’t actually dance”—the Aristocats. The Disney-dedicated a cappella group performed “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas with soloist sophomore Christina Dai, whose strong voice brought true emotion to Pocahontas’ ballad. The group also sang “Be Prepared” from The Lion King and soloist junior Liz Halter’s deep, sharp voice truly channeled Scar’s power and intimidation.

Afterward, the dancing resumed with Wash. U. Hip Hop Union (WUHHU), the winner of “the biggest DUC energy.” The hip-hop group performed an impressive set, with the number of dancers on stage constantly changing, making for a dynamic performance. They kept dancing even as the speakers rattled as if the bass might have proven to be too much for them, never losing their focus.

“The hottest dance group,” Chaahat, took the stage next with a combination of Indian and rap music. They wore gold, which matched the shine on their batons. The Bollywood fusion team’s stunningly coordinated, energetic set perfectly transitioned into the next and final performance.

Raas, or the group “most likely to Raas to the top” jumped and danced in the traditional Indian dance style; gold, green and pink costumes flashing and batons twirling. Their set never slowed down—the high speed, high-energy dance capped off the night on a celebratory note.

After Raas’ performance, hosts Graham and Fehrmann instructed the audience to vote on their favorite act on a Google poll. WUSauce came out for their last dance as the large audience scrambled for their phones, which they looked at in confusion. The poll wasn’t there.

In the end, voting took place in the age-old method: whichever group got the loudest cheers won. After the first round, PL4Y, WUHHU and Chaahat were tied, but a second round put WUHHU on top. The audience cheered one final time as WUHHU received their trophy.

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