Jordan Shearer | Staff Writer | 4-17-2012
For three consecutive days, dancers of all capacities gathered in the PE Complex Gymnasium to perform four shows in the 66th annual Funtastic Dance Follies. The performances included a vast number of dance styles from over fifty college and community dancers.
Two of the routines are Dance Follies traditions, like “Beep Beep.” It is a comedic dance where two men chase each other around the stage in imaginary cars. The second traditional number is called “Colors.” It incorporates sign language and stage spotlights to help narrate the song in addition to the dance routine.
An interesting facet of Dance Follies is the fact that they are not only performed by BSU students, but other dance studios from outside the university are also brought in to participate in several community highlights. Because of this, Follies include young children, BSU students, as well as dance instructors.
Although she did not dance herself, the Follies were graced with the presence of Marion Christianson, who was the director of the event from 1977 to 1994. In addition to being involved in the leadership of the Follies for those years, Christianson, better known as Mrs. C, was a performer in the very first Dance Follies.
“It’s real fun to watch it change,” Christianson said. Christianson’s daughter and son-in-law, Suzy and Hondo Langhout, are the current directors.
There is no single genre that can correctly label Dance Follies. Instead, they included styles from different generations and cultures. For example, there were performances in the styles of the 1920s and 1950s, as well as modern-day. There were also international routines, such as an Indian Bollywood dance and a traditional Middle Eastern belly dance.
“We pride ourselves on the diversity of our group, and the creativity they bring,” Dance Follies director Suzy Langhout said.
Several of the routines were choreographed by the students who performed them. One of these was a tap-dance by Christina Schultz. Although it was a tap routine, it did not resemble typical tap-dancing style. Instead, Schultz said that she had wanted to incorporate a Michael Jackson aspect into the routine. “I took a lot of different styles that I’ve learned over the years and piled them together,” she said.
The audience also had a few opportunities to get involved . First, when all of the kids were invited down from the bleachers to participate. They were all given glow sticks by dancers in the previous number, and then were led around the stage in the dark by the adult dancers to a marching beat.
The second time the audience was invited to dance was to the song “the Twist.” Everyone was encouraged to stand up in their spot and dance. Meanwhile, many of the actual performers came up to dance among the viewers in the bleachers. This year is the 50th anniversary of the classic dance.
Hondo Langhout said that one of the great things about the Dance Follies is that it brings together all of the different dancers and allows them to connect. “We watch them come together in two weeks not knowing each other, and by the end of the two weeks they’re all friends,” he said.
The event is not only a source of entertainment for those who come to watch; It is a way to build the community and bring all of the different dancing clubs, alumni, and teams together to express their unique styles through the same art form.