MUSE explores dreams in annual showcase

Michelle Wei

“What is a dream?” senior Maya Asante asked the crowd in the Claudia Boettcher Theatre. Answering her own question, Asante said, “To me, it’s the Sleeping Beauty definition. It’s a wish your heart makes.” 

Through nine student-choreographed dances and various guest performances, the thirteen members of MUSE explored this theme of dreams in their annual showcase this year. 

In preparation for the showcase, MUSE convened for their weekly Wednesday night practices and in the three weeks before the show, for two-hour practices on Sunday afternoons. Both time and members would be divided in practices, allocating twenty-minute sessions for each choreography. 

These practices culminated in their final showcase on Jan. 11, displaying a variety of contemporary, hip hop, jazz, modern, West African and traditional Chinese dance. 

Among the audience members was an alumna and former MUSE member Arjahn Cox, who commented on the final showcase.

“I thought it was really good and made me proud to have been a part of MUSE. Everyone showed that they put a lot of effort into it,” she said.  

Lisa Berrol, history teacher and in her tenth year as the advisor to MUSE, said, “I thought their show was delightful. It captured their spirit. It gave their audience a really good feel for their positivity, joy of dance, cultural connection, and diversity of talent, helped along by artists who were so generous with their time.” 

Interspersed throughout were guest performances such as singing from seniors Ariana Copland and Chelsea Hall, poetry from junior Carolyn Hohl and Mattilyn Stone, and a k-pop dance cover by the student club KODE. 

The showcase was not without challenge, however. Berrol said that the group tends to have a lot of seniors, meaning each fall, the group grapples with losing members who have graduated or left. According to Asante, one of four co-presidents of MUSE, this held true for this year and also meant that there were different levels of experience within the group. A separate hurdle the group faced was balancing both their showcase and their Martin Luther King Jr. Day performance, which were five days apart this year. This meant at the end of divided practices, the whole group would reassemble to practice the MLK Day performance, “American Funeral.” Berrol said this condensed and intensified the experience of the winter concert, and made the MLK Day performance a unifying experience. 

Regarding both their showcase and their MLK Day performance, Asante said, “We did have a lot of new members this year. Despite having some doubts, everything came together and there was a lot of good energy.”

The group has recently undergone another take-on process and with their new group, will focus on their halftime performances during the spring’s Spirit Week and their Dopapalooza performance going forward, according to Asante.