Whoops, whistles and wows were frequent during the packed performances of Hyper Xpression’s dance showcase last Thursday night. The blossoming dance troupe of 12 women — in only its third year as a group — brought crisp moves, catchy music and vibrant energy to its performance. The hour-long show included 14 numbers that featured traditional latin, contemporary/lyrical and hip-hop dance styles by professional and student choreographers TJ Menz ’14, Sam Allen, Aukai Cain, Jeniffer and Justine Hsu and student sociology major Victoria Hasenfuss (sophomore).
The show started off with comedic opening remarks by emcees Diplomacy and World Affairs (DWA) major Ian Mariani (senior) and politics major Julius DiLorenzo (sophomore) before a fierce number entitled, “Dope,” began. The entire company came out strong and smiling and appeared to hit every mark of the fast-paced hip-hop number.
The crowd exploded with applause and cheers, particularly during the third number, “Banca Banca”, a sizzling duet between DWA major Dakota Chrisholm and Dilorenzo. Two solo dances by undeclared major Noellie Nemoto (first-year) and Urban and Environmental Policy (UEP) major Elena Lopez (sophomore) rounded out the first half before a final hip-hop number swung the audience into an intermission.
Once the second half of the show began, it was abundantly clear that this group is passionate about what they do. The second opener, “FiyaCracka”, was well-received and got the crowd pumped up transitively by the high-energy vibes. Slow, somber numbers “Cry,” which featured a solo by DWA major Rachel Farkas (senior), and “Fix You” stilled the audience, filling the Tiger Cooler with a calm that contrasted the other more up-beat numbers. The grand finale, a millennial-appropriate showstopper entitled, “#Selfie,” was funny, fiery and perfectly executed.
The many types of dance included in the show are indicative of the wide range of styles the group tries to incorporate, as well as reflective of the diverse dance background of each of the members.
“We do all kinds of dancing and put a lot of effort into doing different styles that take you out of your comfort zone,” sociology major Jenna Brown (sophomore) said.
Hearty applause greeted the dancers as they bowed confidently, completing a show that was a treat for all in attendance.
The dancers in Hyper Xpressions were as equally energized and passionate about the showcase, as well as dance in general.
“I love hip-hop dance. It’s so fun and a really hard workout,” Farkas said.
Farkas, the sole senior on the team, has been dancing for many years including in Dance Production during her first two years at Occidental before joining Hyper Xpressions. Though she spent the weeks leading up to the showcase juggling the completion of her senior comprehensive thesis and the strenuous group rehearsals with the group, Farkas was all smiles when discussing her time dancing with Hyper Xpressions.
“I’m so proud of everyone in the group, how much we have improved, and it is really fun to see where Hyper Xpressions will go in the future. We are a really fantastic conglomeration. We all study different things, we are all from different places, but in the end we just love dancing,” Farkas said.
Though away from her home country of England, exchange student and film major Risha Silvera appeared to be quite comfortable on stage with the Occidental dance crew. Silvera has been dancing for most of her life and successfully auditioned for Hyper Xpressions as a way to get involved during her year at Occidental.
“This is really a good group and I knew I was going to be challenged; it is filled with the most talented people at Occidental. I love having a dance family here. It was a great year and they were a massive part of it,” Silvera said.
Hyper Xpressions director and undeclared major Victoria Hasenfuss (sophomore) agreed that being a part of the group has been a positive experience, though time-consuming at times.
“We leave drama at the door. Our time dancing is our time to de-stress from school and real life. It’s a huge support system,” Hasenfuss said.