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The stunning range of Triple 8’s “Montage”

10 people on a stage dancing with matching pastel outfits.
Triple 8 Dancers during their Feb. 2 performance of “Montage.”
Emma Cinocca / The Daily Princetonian

On Friday, Feb. 2, I waited in the audience for the lights to go up for Triple 8’s 2024 show, “Montage.” Slowly, and then all at once, Frist Theatre came alive with lowlights. The show had begun. The stage quickly flooded with dancers as the first piece began, a high-energy hip-hop number. My interest was piqued in those first minutes, and for a good reason — they opened the show with a force and precision capable of drawing audiences in, yet didn’t allow the audience to grow too comfortable with a single kind of movement.

Soon enough, the dancers moved into smooth, contemporary pieces that proved to be equally emotive and well-coordinated. Some numbers were slow, with dancers seeming to contemplate each step they took, while others were more energetic, demanding attention with body control and confidence. But the array of dance genres did not end there. A solo martial arts demonstration astounded a receptive audience with aerial cartwheels and jumps that remained suspended for whole seconds of airtime. All the while, the dancer’s face was schooled into a practiced calm, making him seem at ease despite the intricate routine. 


As the montage unfolded, dancers transitioned through numbers in stylistic twists and turns, imploring the audience to stay on their toes.

In addition to being a beautiful collection of choreographic, costuming, and musical choices — which ranged from smooth instrumentals to lyric songs — the show also embraced its theme on a literal level. At a few points, the lighting played on the audience’s perception of the dancers, blacking out the stage for seconds at a time, only to reveal the dancers positioned somewhere new. The stop motion-esque effect brought the show’s title to life as more than a nominal theme. With this inclusion, the montage was unmistakable, as the show blinked in and out of focus like a slideshow of breathtakingly varied vignettes. 

The dramatic flair conveyed by many of the pieces was well balanced by moments of humor allowed the audience a reprieve at several moments. An introduction video of Triple 8’s newest dancers visiting MTea and Maruichi and the spotlight video for Triple 8’s senior-year members recreating a dance to 小苹果 (“My Little Apple”) added a light-hearted, comedic value to the show, while showcasing the evident friendship between the dancers.

As the show reached its conclusion, I realized why its impact had been so strong: the dancers never allowed the audience to become complacent. I had repeatedly thought through the course of the show that the piece I was currently watching was my favorite yet, only for it to seemingly be topped mere minutes later. “Montage” only seemed to get better, as each piece showcased a different skill set of Triple 8’s dancers, all asking the audience to engage with the performance in a different way. The result was as exciting and fresh as it was elegant and poised. The diversity of dance numbers gave it a certain rewatchability, a quality that stuck with me. As I made my way out of Frist, excitedly chatting with a friend about what we’d just watched, I couldn’t help but wish for the opportunity to watch it all over again.

Emma Cinocca is a staff writer for The Prospect from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is a member of the Class of 2027 and can be reached at

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