Brandeis is known for its array of performing groups, from dance to music to comedy. However, while many students probably have a friend or two within some of these groups, there are many amazing performing troupes on campus that do not get enough recognition.

This is why the annual Fall Fest Variety Show — which took place this past Saturday — is such a popular event; students and families have the opportunity to experience the talents of many different students from different artistic disciplines all in one sitting.

The show, which took place in Levin Ballroom, was jam-packed with students and families who were eager to see the performers showcase their talents. Although the show started a bit later than anticipated, the audience’s energy quickly increased after an introduction from none other than our upbeat dean of students, the beloved Jamele Adams.

The show opened with a unique performance from the Platinum Step Team, whom I had never seen perform before. Their performance consisted of mostly sound-making moves, such as stomps and slaps. This seems like it would be simple, but they did not fail to show how much talent and hard work it must have taken to deliver such a fantastic routine. This was a wonderful act to open the show with.

The second performance was by the all-inclusive a cappella group No Singer Clef Behind, who delivered two beautiful arrangements: “Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s (soloed by Anastasia Christilles ’18) and “I Really Want It” by A Great Big World (soloed by Zoe Hertz ’20).

By Photos by Aaron Birnbaum/the Justice

SNAZZY SOUL: Voices of Soul sings “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5, soloed by Sarah Dublin ’18 (center).


STANDOUT SAADIAH: Company B sings “I Believe in You and Me” by the Four Tops, soloed by Saadiah McIntosh ’17 (center).

A cappella in general was a defining theme of the variety show, with a total of four a cappella groups performing. In addition to No Singer Clef Behind, Voices of Soul, Company B and Rather Be Giraffes also showed off their talent. Voices of Soul delivered some very well-known songs, such as “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 and “Ignition” by R. Kelly. Company B brought back some old tunes from the later 20th century, such as “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” (very fitting with the name of the a cappella group) by the Andrews Sisters and “I Believe in You and Me” by the Four Tops.

Saadiah McIntosh ’17 put his entire heart and soul into the Four Tops number, making it especially memorable and a sure crowd-pleaser.

Rather Be Giraffes stood out with their medleys of songs, especially with their medley of music from the 1980s, which included signature songs from the decade such as “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar and “Take on Me” by a-ha.

All of these groups stood out with their varied sounds and song choices, which showed just how much variety there is in the arts scene on campus.

The improv group To Be Announced was also very popular with the crowd, and was probably the most different from any of the other performances. They played a game with the crowd in which the crowd suggested a situation (in this case, having a baby) for Monica Chen ’19 and Conor Amrien ’19 to present a slideshow about, while three other performers (Matt Hoisch ’19, Evan Moloney ’20 and Abby LeRoy ’20) acted out the slides.

Dance was also prevalent throughout the show, from groups such as K-Pop, Hooked on Tap and Stop Motion. All of these groups showed unique talent and there was never a repetitive moment in the show. The different dance groups also succeeded in highlighting many of the different cultures on campus, such as K-Pop, a Korean dance group, and Brandeis Chak De!, the Bollywood fusion dance group.

The night ended with a lively performance from the extremely talented Adagio Dance Ensemble, who performed an upbeat number to “Bang Bang” by, a hip hop song that incorporates elements from 1920s jazz music such as the “Charleston.”

This created a unique dance routine that consisted of both hard-hitting hip hop moves as well as old-fashioned jazz moves, different from any routine I have ever seen from the ensemble.

The 2016 Fall Fest Variety Show was nothing short of a success, with nearly every performance receiving wild applause from the audience. There was no better way to showcase the talent of many different arts and cultures on campus.