Review: Blue Angels Winter Showcase
By: Kyra Ward
St. Andrews is first and foremost known as an academic institution. So, I am amazed when certain societies excel despite being under the radar. The Blue Angels Dance society is one of these groups. A dance troupe that includes many different people and dancing styles, the Blue Angels have been incredibly successful this year, not only in dancing at a high level, but also winning various first place distinctions at their latest tournament in the Durham Dance Competition.
I, however, was sadly unaware of such talent when I went to the winter showcase of Blue Angels on November 28th. The entire show ran around two hours with an intermission halfway through. Within this relatively short period of time there were 23 different performances, including three wonderful singing interludes by the Hummingbirds. The entire event was beautifully done and remained at an incredibly high level of energy and enthusiasm throughout. In particular I thought that the Intermediate Ballet and Advanced Tap numbers showed immense talent, and wonderful choreography and in the case of tap, the dance was also incredibly fun. Another fun dance group was the traditionally Scottish, but with a modern twist, ‘Highland Fusion’ team. With a modern take on classics that you would normally see reserved for a ceilidh, this group brought the entire showcase back to its St. Andrews Scottish roots, while still remaining modern enough to keep up with some of the more avant-garde numbers.
On the more serious side, Charmaine Hiller and the duet with Kristian Smith and Helena Stiles were truly spectacular to watch. Both Charmaine and Kristian had won first place for best female and male dancer, respectively, and even from the balcony you could tell why. The commitment to perfection for both of these dancers was truly inspiring, and it elevated both of their numbers. However, as a dance novice with no understanding of what is necessarily good versus gimmicky, what I didn’t expect was to be stunned by the level emotion that was conveyed in both numbers. It felt like an incredibly personal event in a fully public setting, and needless to say I was impressed.
The entire showcase was closed out by the Hip-hop group dressed as minions. As a form of dance that is so relevant to pop-culture it was fun to see this amalgamation of childlike characters with serious moves. It ended the entire show in a very fun and funny way, while still reminding everyone that should a dance battle ever occur in the Union, nobody stood a chance against the Blue Angels.
The only part of the event that seemed to be lacking were the sometimes awkward, and other times wrong introductions by the comedian chosen to MC the show. In what I’m sure was a mix of nerves and general university stress, the delivery in the beginning came of a bit flat. Throughout the show Ed Polsue's confidence increased, and by the end everyone was laughing and clapping along.
The Blue Angels winter showcase was a truly lovely way to start off the holiday season, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next.