Blurred lines between nightmares and daydreams: Fusion’s spring show ‘Out of Focus’


Lexi Goldstein/The Daily Northwestern

Fusion Dance Company performs two shows each year — ReFusionShaka in the fall and a company-led show in the spring.

Lexi Goldstein, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

Directors of Fusion Dance Company’s spring show “Out of Focus” sought to capture the world beyond closed eyes with an intricate narrative this weekend in Ryan Family Auditorium. The Fusion “dreamscape” aimed to unpack what happens when we sleep visually by stringing together contrasting outfits and sonically through track choice. 

“Both daydreams and nightmares are happening when people are in an unconscious state,” Weinberg freshman and Fusion dancer Ronaldo Tineo said. “A lot of the pieces were very conscious of the message that they were trying to portray.”

The two hour show showcased a blend of freestyle dance, shorter transitional pieces and longer performances. When dancers took to the stage, they looked to create pieces which highlighted the duality of dreams in a seductive manner.

Fusion welcomed the audience to their nightmares with Rihanna’s “Disturbia” and then transitioned into a riff of the TV show “Squid Game,” starting the show with an ominous tone. Later, performances to “Motiv8” by J. Cole, “Escapism” by Raye and 070 Shake and “Sweetest Pie” by Megan Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa hinted at the theme of daydreaming.

Despite a contrast in colors, moods and sounds, Fusion blended its key themes together — especially in the number choreographed to “Bang” by Jacob Banks and Tobe Nwigwe. 

“We felt like that was what reality is: sometimes dreams feel like nightmares and nightmares feel like dreams,” Communication junior and Fusion PR Chair Maddie Morse said. 

Northwestern Deeva, Northwestern’s all-female competitive dance team, and Graffiti Dancers, an on-campus contemporary dance company, had guest features at Friday’s performance. At the 7 p.m. performance on Saturday, a cappella group THUNK and Northwestern K-Dance, a K-pop dance group, were guest performers. 

The spring show also incorporated class dances — first-year dancers called Drummies gave a silly performance to “Cbat” by Hudson Mohawke, choreographed by the class of fourth-years called Thighs. 

One of Fusion’s traditions includes naming each class as a type of chicken part. 

“It’s just one of those really strange traditions that I think we’ve lost the origin story of but carry it on anyways,” Weinberg sophomore and Fusion Dance Education Chair Madeline Friedman said.

The final dance, set to the tune of “Sweet Dreams” by Beyoncé, included all of the dancers and was the last escape from reality for the night: the end of a “sweet dream and beautiful nightmare.” 

“Out of Focus” is the culmination of months of work. The Fusion team spent Winter Quarter working on the show in several phases. The first was planning, rehearsing and running logistics, with the second requiring members’ share videos of their remote practice during Spring Break. Finally, the group began tech rehearsals at the start of Spring Quarter. 

Typically, Fusion has two weeks of tech rehearsals before their spring show — one week at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and one at the performance venue. But because the Crown Sports Pavilion did not allow student groups to use rehearsal spaces during the quarter’s first week, the team had to get creative, rebranding the week to “Anything But SPAC Week.” Tineo said the show may have been smoother had Fusion been able to use the Crown Sports Pavilion, which houses bigger rooms and mirrors than other campus offerings. 

Still, tech weeks are a bonding experience for Fusion dancers, Friedman said. 

“The best part of being on Fusion is that it is like a team sport because you have other people that are going through it with you,” Friedman said. “There are 40-some people on our team. So anytime you see them on campus during tech week or something, it’s just this shared experience.”

The team’s camaraderie is what makes Fusion a standout activity for Morse. 

With everyone “committed to the craft,” sharing their passion is really special, she added.

“We’re not competing against anyone, but we’re just all working really hard to make each other better versions of ourselves and better dancers,” Morse said.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @lexipgoldstein

Related Stories:

ReFusionShaka rocks the stage, brings together NU dance community

‘A built-in little community’: Northwestern students find support, family in Fusion 

Fusion makes a spring show comeback with ‘After Dark’