ReFusionShaka is back: Fusion, Boomshaka and Refresh to take the stage this weekend


Julia Nichols/The Daily Northwestern

Refresh dancer Goldie Beck takes centerstage during the Refresh dance set.

Ashley Lee, Reporter

After two years, ReFusionShaka is back in-person this weekend with performances by Refresh Dance Crew, Fusion Dance Company and Boomshaka.

One of Northwestern’s largest performances, ReFusionShaka will premiere at Cahn Auditorium Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Students began preparing for the show over the summer when the creative boards of each group chose the music and designed the choreography. The groups held tryouts in the beginning of the fall to select their performers.

“Being creative is one thing, but then sharing your whole creative process with other people is also a very scary, vulnerable process,” said Bienen senior Matthew You, Fusion’s artistic director. “But each team has great choreographers who are courageous and creative enough to put their work out there.”

Refresh Dance Crew is composed of more than 80 members from different stylistic backgrounds and levels. Refresh dances in multiple styles from house, which involves a lot of footwork, to contemporary, which tends to be more graceful.

Liliana Wang, president of Refresh Dance Crew, said the preparation process was completely student-led.

“Everything is self-produced,” the McCormick senior said. “We have students that mix the music and choreograph. Lighting and design is also done by students. There is also a student team that handles promotions and branding work, as well.”

Fusion Dance Company, founded in 2003, practices a variety of styles such as hip hop, popping and contemporary.

Though they fuse different genres together, Artistic Director Ryan Kim, a former Daily staffer, said respecting the origin culture of each genre is a priority.

“Something that we’re always really cognizant about is the fact that this blending of dance genres should not take away from our consideration, acknowledgement and respect of their backgrounds,” the Medill junior said.

Weinberg sophomore Asia Blackwell, a member of Fusion, said she is nervous about performing in person for the first time in two years, though the return is comforting.

Blackwell said being a part of Fusion allowed her to find a community that provided support and a place to release stress during a hectic quarter.

“I’m really proud of my members, and happy to be a part of this,” Blackwell said. “I hope that others join us because there are never too many dancers.”

Boomshaka is a drum, dance and rhythm group with both dancers and drummers. The drummers play on unconventional items such as trash cans, poles and tables. While the drummers focus on the beats of the music, the dancers explore contemporary and hip hop genres.

While each dance group has their own set, they also collaborate with one another through midpieces — sets choreographed together by different dance companies and performed by members of all three groups.

Boomshaka’s Harrison Israel said students should come to the show not just to support the dance teams, but to enjoy themselves as well.

“I think it’s nice to be able to come to a live show that celebrates so many students and that has such a fun and exciting vibe,” Israel said. “We’ll just take you away from whatever else you’re worrying about.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @ashley_yw_lee 

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