Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Culture X wows audiences despite changes

New Spingold venue presents challenges outweighed by great performances

Published: April 18, 2008
Section: Arts, Etc.

This year, Culture X was included as part of the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts. Needless to say, Culture X is the largest and one of the best shows held on campus. This year’s show was no different, with more than the usual handful of outstanding acts. Another more noticeable change, however: Spingold as the venue.

The latter proved to be very interesting. Performers and choreographers, having been accustomed to Levin Ballroom for several semesters now, were forced to adapt to a new environment. Not only were they facing a larger stage but also a cramped and confusing (to newcomers) backstage.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. One would assume that the performers were allowed to practice on this somewhat foreign stage. Nevertheless, most performances first graced the stage the night prior to Culture X during runthroughs.

What should be noted was the foresight of the Culture X coordinators. Those observing Shabbat were placed in the second act with the obvious purpose of performing later in the evening. The second act was also allowed to perform first during Friday evening’s runthrough. Another issue with the new venue involved ticketing. The Spingold Theater Center is exactly that, a theater. Thus, it was not surprising that tickets were required to be picked up prior to the show for admittance.

However, unlike events and shows in Levin, where performers are allowed in regardless and may watch the show wherever they very well please, tickets were required in order for proper seating. Those performers unable to get tickets to their own show were not allowed in, without exception.

But that’s not to say that several performers didn’t sneak in behind the stage curtains or climb up to the lighting area for optimal and hassle-free viewing. These trivialities certainly put a damper on what is usually a laid-back and comfortable experience for a performer.

Regardless, Culture X delivered in every other way, showcasing the extraordinary talents of Brandeis students. Aside from the usual dance routines, seemingly ubiquitous with shows like this, Culture X offered something more.

Student Union Treasurer Choon Woo Ha ’08 and South Asian Students Association Co-president Richa Sahay ’09 belted out two dynamic duets that were well received from audience. Adagio dancers accompanied this act during a rendition of “You Raise Me Up.”

Another noteworthy performance was without a doubt was Mochila. This new performance group combined traditional Arabic rhythms with jazz instruments. The successful result could easily be interpreted by viewing the silent crowd holding on to every passing beat followed by the well-deserved applause.

The night proved to be, once again, a tremendous success, despite the various obstacles faced by coordinators and performers alike. Showcasing the best Brandeis has to offer, Culture X will surely be around for a long time to come.