Things have intensified since the cruise from the Black Arts Company (BAC)’s “On Deck” last fall. In “Stranded,” flight attendants go rogue. Kicking off the show with a crash, BAC performed with supreme confidence and humor to a full house on Saturday night. Few things generate more hype and support on campus than dance shows, and it comes as no surprise that BAC held audiences’ attention for a five-show run this weekend.
“Stranded” offers a little bit of everything: desert-island romance in “Splash,” a comedic tribute to the late Stephen Hillenburg (Spongebob’s creator) in “Da Conch,” and pure celebration in the closer “Level Up.” They never lose sight of the storyline, though, going all out with video content building internal tension between the villains and escalating desperation among the stranded passengers. The program even contextualizes each dance within the plot.
The dancers work hard to produce an effortless onstage effect, so that the audience is convinced they’re having even more fun than we are. Fourteen members contributed to the choreography, which evades repetitiveness, combining precision and synchrony with plenty of room for individual style to come through. The dancers never look like they’re just going through the motions, as they occupy their roles fully even with their facial expressions.
BAC creates a sense of community both onstage and in the audience. Whole rows of seats were reserved for family at the Saturday early show. One of the highlights of the night was the traditional audience dance-off, which was not so traditional this time because only young kids got on stage. The entire audience sang “Happy Birthday” to the youngest showgoer before going wild throughout the entire impromptu dance competition.
BAC goes beyond technical perfection to provide hilarity and a familial sense throughout the show, culminating with a feel-good dance number featuring every cast member. It’s impossible not to leave in a better mood than you entered.