Spring Sing celebrates dance, a cappella and rap

by Amelia Rosch | 4/26/15 5:35pm

Dance, freestyle rap and a cappella came together as SHEBA, DStyle and the Dartmouth Aires performed at Saturday night’s Spring Sing.

Each of the College’s nine a cappella groups rotate between hosting Spring Sing and its equivalents — Fall Fling and Winter Whingding — known as the “ings.” The Aires musical director Nikhil Arora ’16 said that the group found out early last fall that they would be hosting Saturday’s event.

While the a cappella group hosting an “ing” traditionally invites performing groups from other colleges, Arora said that the group chose to have other on-campus groups join them to highlight student talent.

“There is so much talent at Dartmouth, and it’s always nice to showcase that,” he said.

Arora said that the Aires specifically invited DStyle in order to create a rap collaboration. The two groups performed versions of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” (2013) and Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” (2014) together.

“The Aires already had a rap in ‘Dark Horse,’ so we felt like why not let DStyle freestyle with us,” Arora said. “We thought it would be cool to combine the talent and showcase both of us.”

DStyle member Alec Tarantino ’16 said that the group’s performance at this year’s Winter Whingding in an “emcee-capacity” helped prepare them to perform again at Spring Sing after the Aires reached out.

Tarantino said that performing in Spring Sing gave the group the opportunity to perform in a larger venue, Spaulding Auditorium.

“We do a lot of small shows in Greek houses and places like Collis Common Ground, so this was, literally, a much bigger stage,” he said. “It was cool to perform for the community outside of students. Most of them did not realize that we have only been around since [winter 2013].”

SHEBA member Lauren Fox ’17 said that Spring Sing was more formal than many of the shows at which SHEBA performs, the majority of which take place in Greek houses or Collis Common Ground.

“Fraternity shows are rowdier,” she said. “It’s much more up-close. The audiences can be just five feet away.”

She said that despite the differences in venues, the group prepared for Spring Sing in the same way that they do for other shows.

“For us, every show is of the same importance,” she said. “We put the same amount of time and effort in for each venue.”

Both Arora and Fox said that their groups performed more pieces than they do during a normal show. Arora described the Aires’ set of 12 songs as their largest set of the year. Fox said that SHEBA performed two sets of four to five dances each.

The Aires’ business manager David Clossey ’16 said that the group was able to perform three different types of songs — more recent pop songs, traditional Dartmouth songs and the groups’ staples, some of which were arranged by the group in the 1950s and 1960s such as Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” (1930). Clossey said that the group enjoys getting to feature some of their more historic songs, such as The Supremes’ “Up The Ladder to the Roof” (1970).

“It was really special for us,” he said. “We like to close with ‘Up the Ladder.’ It’s a really nice way to end the show.”

Clossey said that he also enjoyed performing “Dartmouth Undying” by Franklin McDuffee, a member of the Class of 1921, because of the meaning the song has to the group.

“It means a lot to us as a group,” he said. “This was our first big show since China, and we performed ‘Dartmouth Undying’ a lot in China. It meant a lot to use to bring part of Dartmouth abroad.”

Arora also said that he enjoyed performing “Dartmouth Undying” because of the history the song holds and the resonance it has in the broader community.

Fox said that her favorite piece to perform at Spring Sing as a dance choreographed by Sheya Jabouin ’15, both because of its high energy-feel and the fact that the group had the opportunity to polish the dance since first performing it in the fall.

“Performing it again made it better because I’ve come to enjoy perfecting it,” she said. “We were able to have all of our moves down.”

Tarantino said that his favorite pieces were either the collaborations between DStyle and the Aires or a song that DStyle freestyled about kittens at the request of two younger audience members.

Being able to work with other on-campus student performing groups was his favorite part of performing in Spring Sing, Tarantino said. He said that performing alongside the Aires and SHEBA was “an honor.”

“They are both so talented, and it comes off in their shows,” he said. “Their energy is high, and we were so happy to help sustain that.”

Clossey also said that he enjoyed the chance to collaborate with other student groups. Performing on stage with his close friends and getting to have fun was a high point, he said.

Fox said that she also enjoyed the chance to perform with other groups because it allowed the community to see the multiple facets of student performance at the College.

Arora said that he enjoyed the end of the show, when all of the groups came out and bowed together.

“It showed how strong the arts community at Dartmouth is,” he said.