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Families gather for the Fall Fest Variety Show

Students and parents braved the snow to see Brandeis’ top performing groups

By Alex DeSilva and Ayan Sanyal
On October 31, 2011

As the first snow of the season fell in Waltham last Saturday night, parents and students packed the Levin Ballroom for Fall Fest's Variety Show. It was an opportunity for Brandeis' performance groups to showcase their talents. With acts ranging from comedy to a cappella to dance, there honestly was something for everyone. Associate Dean of Student Life Jamele Adams emceed and gamely kept the crowd warmed up between sets, even when that meant shanghaiing a random sixth grader to act as his co-host or dressing up as an Angry Bird (his daughter told him to).

Adagio Dance Company, one of Brandeis' many dance crews, opened the event with its upbeat modern dance moves to songs by Phoenix, Ratatat and more. Wearing neon garments adorned with ribbons, the performers dazzled the crowd with their perfectly-timed steps and synchronicity.

VoiceMale performed two numbers that, as Adams told parents, "made you fall in love with the person next to you all over again." The group performed one original song, "Ask Myself," and a Kris Allen song, "Live like We're Dying."

Then Adams sought the help of an elementary school student, presumably a Brandeis sibling, to introduce the next group. After finding an understandably shy girl, he quizzed her on her spelling abilities and reawarded her with a free T-shirt.

The next dance group to perform stomped onstage with attitude and pride. The So Unique Step Team wowed the audience with its insanely fast, highly choreographed step moves. The group played short snippets of background music that would suddenly stop, and the audience would be left only with the sounds of their feet and hands clapping, stomping and tapping to the same rhythm. The theme of So Unique's performance was "Britain versus America," and the group filled the space between songs by performing skits toying with British and American stereotypes and filled with sass.

The next group was Brandeis' Gospel Choir. These girls, led by their director, piano maestro and Berklee graduate Rashad McPherson sang uplifting hymns and songs about worship and faith. For someone who has never been to a church service, this way of sharing music and joy was definitely something worth sticking around for. However, the acoustics of this group seemed a little sparse and the voices barely reached levels louder than the electric piano.

B'yachad, another one of Brandeis' dance troupes, performed unique Israeli folk dances with a modern twist. The self-choreographed group danced to a song by Israeli pop artist Moshe Peretz called "Mehashamayim."

Company B, Brandeis's oldest performance group, rounded out the vocal performances with a medley of Beatles songs. Top Score, Brandeis' student-run orchestra also graced the audience with arrangements of popular music.

Well worth the wait, Kaos Kids combined hip-hop dance, lights and Halloween for an extra spooky show. They performed Kanye West's smash hit, "Monster" and boldly included some explicit lyrics that West and his friend Nicki Minaj spewed throughout the song. However, their performance was tight, well-rehearsed and coordinated and anyone could see they put a lot of effort into their work.

The night wasn't all music though; comedy troupe Boris' Kitchen was definitely one of the more memorable acts of the night, if only for introducing the audience to phrases like "birthing duct." It was a clear break from the more musically inclined acts, and, from its position in the middle of the show, provided a nice breather for the audience.

Despite the uninviting weather, the show was a success; the groups were at their best, and the audience, young and old, loved every minute of it.

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