Back to Bates without Barriers

It’s Saturday, October 1, 2022, and an exciting time for families to see this year’s Back to Bates artistic showcase during parents weekend. Stage Manager Kendall Jones ‘25 described the production as the perfect way to “interact and have fun” with the community. Last year’s concert took place in the Schaeffer Theatre, and the COVID-19 pandemic added “walls” that were not present today. The entire show took place in Merrill Gymnasium’s Marcy Plavin Dance Studio. 

The audience watched the dance pieces up close as students performed in one of their usual practice studios. “The most special part of the showcase was getting to be so close to the audience and having fun together as a team,” Jones added. 

The show displayed nine acts in total that ranged in form, music, language, and genre. From contemporary to hip-hop, theater, and musical medleys, it gave us just about every imaginable performance style with a range of moods – somber to upbeat – all in just about an hour.

The showcase began with a performance from Mavy Ho ‘26, who played her electric violin to the soundtrack of a Lady Gaga medley, which included “Born this Way,” “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance” and “Judas.” The piece was followed by acts that captured a similarly unique and engaging style with solo acts and group numbers. 

Miguel Angel Pacheco ‘24 performed a solo act titled “Bridges” and brought audience members onto the floor to create a bridge together, followed by Ace+, a campus dance group who performed a lively dance piece titled “Rebirth.” David Allen ‘24 then showcased “The July Collection,” which told two stories about being there for others and making music on the journey to getting a degree. 

Star Yang ‘24, who performed “The Last Dance by the Wujiang River,” described that she was excited by the opportunity to show the choreography she’s worked so hard on, noting that she loves how “dance can give you different perspectives through storytelling.” 

This dance has never been told by Lady Yu, wife of General Xiangy, but the creativity of dance can show audiences a different side to even “China’s famous” stories, she explained. Following these acts, we continued to see original pieces, performed in various ways. 

After Yang’s piece, I watched a captivating and emotive contemporary dance from Anntonia Taylor ‘24 titled “Love is Everywhere,”’ followed up by an upbeat number from 2BEATS, the college’s first and only hip hop dance team. Isabel Fronzaglia ‘26 made her Bates theatrical debut in the showcase, singing a dramatic rendition of “I’m Breaking Down” from the musical Falsettos

Finally, the show concluded with “Lady, Boogie Down” by five first years who were excited to perform their first dance piece at Bates. They showcased their fresh talent and skill, displaying the stunning and lively choreography made by seniors as per the dance department’s tradition, effortlessly moving around the stage without missing a beat.

The performers added their unique touches to the numbers throughout the showcase. They created new visuals and elements, traveling upstage and downstage, and taking turns moving around the space. Q-Lab operator – the sound and audio file controller– Caroline Friedman ‘25 explained that putting shows together can be “so difficult,” but working with Kendall, the rest of the crew, and watching the dancers perform their pieces, made the entire experience worth the hard work.

Despite the unpredictability of mixing live music, the crew had fun creating the show, and they embraced the need for “adaptability” in live performances (Friedman). After the final acts, the audience stood up and clapped loudly, making their way onto the ground floor shortly to congratulate all the students who worked hard to put the show together. The array of students who performed from all class years left people excited about the academic year with a taste of the program and what’s ahead.