NBC shakes, pops and rolls to crazy finale

A surge of energy heightened the anticipation. Every light dropped in Goodrich: The craziness had begun. Last Friday night, the hip-hop dance group Nothin’ But Cuties (NBC) presented its spring show, titled “Never Been Crazier.” Before the start of the show, emcees Ifiok Inyang ’11 and Jamal Jefferson ’11set only one ground rule for the audience: Be loud!

The darkness gave way as each NBC member strutted in, showcasing their playful dance moves and personalities. Staying true to the upbeat rhythm, the ladies wore brightly colored layered tank tops and black spandex. Had the colors not caught your eye, the token “booty-shaking” highlighted by the dance’s title, “Shake 4 Suga,” surely would have, as Nicole Shannon ’12, Bex Bacchioni ’10 and Cassie Bagay ’10 broke it down to this old-school tune. Despite the slow pick-up, the short and simple introduction set the tone for the rest of the show and prepared the audience for the wildness to come.

Without a doubt, the next piece, “Forget the Music,” choreographed by Assistant Director of Admission Derrick Robertson, stole the show with some of the sickest dance moves. Continuing the old-school feel established by the previous dance, Robertson included elements reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and his running-man dance move, accentuating the fluid body rolls with his use of elongated arms. When the music broke into a modern mix of “You Should Be My Girl” by Sammie, the dancers began the thunder-clap move, made famous by Usher’s music video for “Yeah,” in unison. Rocking their staple high-tops and button-up shirts that spanned the color spectrum, they kneeled on the floor to pass their handkerchiefs through their legs. They quickly stood for a foot shuffle and neck roll, timing their chest pops and leg kicks to synchronize with the song. Even the technical difficulties at the beginning could not dampen the effect of this masterpiece.

Returning to give NBC a moment to breathe, Inyang and Jefferson surveyed the audience to find out who had the best “donk” skills. (A “donk” is a very round booty, shortened from the term “badonkadonk.”) About 15 students and alums took to the stage to dance to Soulja Boy’s “She Got a Donk” in order to claim the title of Donk Master. Two nonrecruited male audience members hopped into its midst, turning the competition into an out-of-control party. It was unclear whether or not organizers had intended the impromptu dancing, but it was evident that the competition was meant to go much more smoothly. On the positive side, the competition allowed NBC to get the rest they needed to continue with the show.

If any audience members had attended NBC’s fall show, the composition of the next dance would have been eerily familiar. Choreographers Bacchioni, Shannon, Jonayah Jackson ’12 and Kim Liu ’12 combined their fall routines into one. The numbers featured sultry dancing and booty popping once again, this time to the songs “Hot Boyz” by Missy Elliot, “Drop it Low” by Ester Dean and “No Daddy” by Teairra Mari. The set ended with two formation changes and a cascaded hip roll.

Detouring from the gyrations of the first third of the performance, Shannon dedicated her inspirational piece “Far Away” to Haiti. Set to Lecrae’s song of the same name, the message of the choreography and the music spoke of faith, hope and peace in the midst of destruction, loss and pain. These moves were more fluid and incorporated ballet. At one point, the dancers stood hand in hand, leaning on one another. Also unique to this piece was its blatant use of unsynchronized choreography. A group of five formed a circle in the middle of the stage as four others, dancing in pairs, followed a separate choreography. The overall contrast between this dance and the others set “Far Away” into its own category, apart from the rest of the show.

Next, Lauren Young ’10 was responsible for letting the audience all know “What a Girl Really Wants,” and, apparently, the answer is not a “boy toy” but a “toy friend.” The ladies in this piece used the butterfly, dutty wine and sweeping arm movements of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” music video to reign in and keep their boys under control. The crowd shouted their approval when Robertson, Emanuel Yekutiel ’11 and Jason Hernandez ’13 dropped on their hands and knees to pop for their ladies.

The next dance, thoughtfully named “A Perfect 10,” gave NBC’s seniors Bagay, Young, Bacchioni and Sarah Walmsley ’10 their final opportunity to show why they were crazy cuties. The four danced their way through a series of songs, including Ludacris’s “How Low,” Ciara’s “Promise” and Beyonce’s “Baby Boy.” Each song transition cued an outfit change so that by the end, each wore only a tank top and leggings. The series presented an appealing mix of sensual and fast-paced hip-hop dance.

For the finale, choreographer Alexandra Coleman ’11 took us through Justin Timberlake’s career, beginning with his Mickey Mouse days and ending with his most contemporary hits. Dancers popped up and slumped back down on the floor to the beat of the music. They slid and rolled over the stage, thrust their pelvises and showed off moves that Billy Banks, founder of Tae Bo, would steal. The multiple lighting changes warmed the stage and complemented the energetic mood well.

After the bright outfits and provocative moves at last semester’s show, it seemed doubtful that NBC could get much crazier. But the shimmying and shaking of NBC’s dance moves ably convinced the audience that Friday offered its craziest show yet.