ReFusionShaka rocks the stage, brings together NU dance community


Eugenia Cao/The Daily Northwestern

Fusion performed in Cahn auditorium Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

MJ Gudino, Reporter

Cheering students, colorful flashing lights and cardboard cutouts of performers’ faces sprinkled the crowd at ReFusionShaka’s Friday and Saturday performances at Cahn Auditorium. 

The largest dance show on campus showcased student-choreographed routines from Refresh Dance Crew, Fusion Dance Co. and Boomshaka, as well as guest performances from other student groups on campus.

McCormick and Communication freshman Gabriela Norwood said she especially enjoyed seeing Boomshaka perform to “Womanizer” by Britney Spears. 

“Watching the show made me want to join a dance group,” Norwood said. “(It) was like a confidence boost for me, and it was very cool to see them onstage having fun.” 

Other iconic songs in the show included “Rasputin” by Boney M. and the “The Home Depot Beat” by The Home Depot, which showcased Boomshaka performers in hard hats and high visibility safety vests drumming and performing stick tricks.

Norwood said her favorite part of the performance was the lighting, which varied with each song and featured bright colors and flashing strobes at times. 

“(It) was phenomenal,” she said. “It built up the atmosphere and anticipation of different moves and helped carry the storytelling of the show.”

Communication sophomore Melanie Ahn, the show’s lighting director, worked with choreographers throughout the summer and Fall Quarter to determine the color and timing of lights. 

Ahn has designed lighting for dance shows since high school but said ReFusionShaka was her biggest project yet. 

“The philosophy that I bring into the space when I design lighting for the dance groups is continual understanding that these choreographers have worked so hard on these pieces,” Ahn said. ”(I’m) trying to respect their vision and making sure that both of our ideas can coexist and create the best product possible.” 

Because of its complexity, the show required almost a thousand programmed lighting cues, Ahn said. She said her team of three was integral to her process and the success of the show.

Medill sophomore Raquel Rossi, who is a member of both Refresh and Fusion, said the intense preparation for the show allows dancers on campus to bond with each other.

Rossi choreographed her first piece for ReFusionShaka this year with the routine for Tropkillaz’s “Bola Rebola.” Rossi described ReFusionShaka as an experience unique to Northwestern’s dance community, citing how several alumni flew out to attend the show. 

She looks forward to being a part of the show again next year, Rossi added. 

“I knew I wanted to choreograph for this show because the energy is unmatched,” she said.  “You really do create such a strong bond with your team members and it becomes a family.” 

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