News at Princeton

Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

Multimedia: Student

Video: 'BAC: The Making of "Beast Mode"'


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Jack Hutton '13 documents the effort and dedication that Princeton students put into making a Black Arts Company dance production. Learn more.


Video Closed Captions

Group:
B, A, C! B, A, C!

Group:
B.A.C, B.A.C., what? B.A.C, B.A.C., what?

Group:
No one does hip-hop better than us! [cheers]

Julie Nkodo:
I'm Julie Nkodo. I'm a junior, and I'm artistic director of BAC.

Lucy Fang:
I'm Lucy Fang. I'm also a junior and director of BAC.

Julie Nkodo:
BAC is the Black Arts Dance Company, and we're primarily a hip hop company today.

Lucy Fang:
The two biggest events we have are our semester shows, one in the fall one in the spring.

Lucy Fang:
And these are the shows that each of our members choreographs a piece and the entire production

Lucy Fang:
is run by our group.

Julie Nkodo:
Our spring show was called "Beast Mode." "Beast mode" just basically means going really hard

Julie Nkodo:
on something or doing something really well. And it applies to all situations in life.

Lucy Fang:
The first real step is choreography proposals. That is the first company rehearsal of the

Lucy Fang:
year, the first meeting where everyone gets together. Dancers who have a piece idea in

Lucy Fang:
mind will propose four 8-counts by performing it in front of the entire group. After everyone

Lucy Fang:
proposes then the artistic director, who is Julie, she gets together with her assistant

Lucy Fang:
artistic director and they try to select a variety that will help the show be diverse

Lucy Fang:
and stimulating.

Lucy Fang:
Each piece takes about eight hours to learn. So you break that into four two-hour rehearsals

Lucy Fang:
and we learn each piece in one week. So you will just have four rehearsals throughout

Lucy Fang:
the week. Then up until the show, every Saturday at company rehearsal you perform that piece again

Lucy Fang:
just to ensure that you won't forget it.

Julie Nkodo:
Hell Week is really stressful just because every choreographer needs a cleaning and spacing in Frist.

Julie Nkodo:
And what that means is that they need to clean the little details of their

Julie Nkodo:
piece in a studio, and then they need to go to Frist and have a rehearsal on the stage

Julie Nkodo:
just to space out the formations.

Julie Nkodo:
One of the things that actually takes a lot of work is costumes. People are just like,

Julie Nkodo:
"Oh, they look nice on stage," but there is a lot of work that goes behind that. And our

Julie Nkodo:
costume chairs -- Marvah and Lauren Brown -- they've been ordering costumes pretty much

Julie Nkodo:
since the pieces have been selected -- so, they are contacting each choreographer to

Julie Nkodo:
figure out what their theme is and trying to find costumes for each dancer on a budget.

Lucy Fang:
And we really appreciated our lighting designer and operator this semester.

Julie Nkodo:
Oh, he was amazing.

Lucy Fang:
Both our lighting designer Lehman Garrison and our operator Dave Holtz, they were absolutely

Lucy Fang:
wonderful in their ability to pick up the lighting cues and listen to the music and

Lucy Fang:
just be really able to tell where certain cues are supposed to go off.

Lucy Fang:
When you're in the moment, you want to go full out. And it doesn't matter how many

Lucy Fang:
run-throughs, or how tired you are from the day, how little sleep you've been getting

Lucy Fang:
because it's Hell Week. It just really becomes you expressing yourself, having fun on the

Lucy Fang:
stage, and really conveying that to the audience.

Julie Nkodo:
I love hip-hop. I can just listen to it all day. And the way that I express that love

Julie Nkodo:
is through dance. And it is just like, dancing is everything. It has made my Princeton experience.

[Music]

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