Boomshaka celebrates its 25th anniversary spring show with a plethora of performances

Andrés Buenahora, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

Boomshaka is loud.

Founded in 1997, the student-run organization is Northwestern’s premier dance, drum and rhythm group. Boomshaka celebrated its 25th anniversary with its spring show this weekend, performing at Shanley Pavilion Friday and Saturday night.

Boomshaka has built a reputation on campus for high-energy performances that incorporate aspects of musical genres, ranging from jazz to hip-hop to contemporary pop, with different forms of percussion.

The group’s 2022 spring show, titled Boomshaka Remastered, delivered over 20 pieces that featured creative uses of percussion, with drummers using stools, garbage cans and even kitchen plates in one performance called “Dinner Table.”

“I was just amazed at how fun it was,” Weinberg first-year William Shamai said. “The drum beating was really fun…You can just have a really good time and engage in the arts.”

Shamai said before seeing Boomshaka Remastered, he hadn’t realized how much he enjoyed attending student performances at NU.

“We spent a lot of time looking at and watching older shows in order to pay homage to all 25 years of Boomshaka,” Producer Harrison Israel said. “We also had such a large number of alumni come back for the show, so it was really incredible to get to perform for so many people who made this group what it is today.”

Israel, a Weinberg junior, said because Boomshaka has only 27 members, the group has been able to form tight-knit bonds, and nearly every member got the chance to write or choreograph a piece for this year’s spring show.

The cast rehearsed over 10 hours a week throughout Winter and Spring Quarters, as well as seven hours a day during tech week.

“Boomshaka is unique in the people it brings,” Drummer Lorenzo Jennings said.

Jennings, a SESP first-year, said he is primarily a drummer and had never seen himself as a dancer prior to joining Boomshaka. He credited the organization with giving him the opportunity to pursue dance and explore this aspect of his identity as an artist.

Jennings said the highlight of his Boomshaka experience was going on spring tour at fellow drummer Ben Monroe’s house in New York over Spring Break.

“We got to refine some pieces for the show and go perform in gigs for schools,” Jennings said. “(It was) a really good bonding moment for all of us to be together for that whole week.”

The show incorporated a cappella, basketball dribbling and drummers casually tossing their drumsticks to each other, as well as playing catch with instruments mid-song. A trivia contest, comedic exit interviews with senior performers and an interactive sequence of rhythm games with a roaring audience of students and alumni capped off Boomshaka Remastered.

Israel expressed his gratitude for the support from other students. He said selling out all three Refusionshaka shows in the fall and all four of Boomshaka’s spring shows was one of the highlights of this year.

“The energy from the crowd at all of our shows this year has been incredible,” Israel said. “It’s been such a joy getting to finally perform again live on a stage.”

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Twitter: @andresbuena01

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