“Welcome to Funktoon NetWURQ!"—the voice in the introduction video booms to the audience. Excited shouts burst from the crowd—the show is about to be one to remember. It is Saturday night, and I am sitting front and center in the Iron Gate Theater, about to get my first taste of Strictly Funk’s energy and talent. The urban dance group has been rehearsing for their premiere show since the beginning of the semester, and has dedicated countless hours toward perfecting their pieces. It's their time to put this perfection on display.
Before the show, Funk’s directors, Tiffany Yue (E '19) and Walter Little (C '19) gave me a glimpse of what their experiences have been like dancing in the group. Tiffany recounted that she’s been in Funk since the fall of her freshman year, and although it was bittersweet to be leaving, it was time. “It’s like being in a relationship,” she remarked while laughing, and said that he team was a significant part of her four years at Penn. Walter shared the same sentiments. As co–directors for this year’s show, they were able to put their own touch and vision into its direction.
The theme, “Funktoon NetWURQ,” was a spin on the cartoons we grew up watching. A lot of the dances featured elements of shows ranging from The Powerpuff Girls to Rick and Morty. Why cartoons? “We felt it was really relatable to a lot of people,” said Walter. The element of nostalgia was definitely present throughout the show, as many audience members found themselves singing along to the theme songs of their favorite animations. There still was room for surprise, as many of the pieces featured a variety of dance styles from hiphop to contemporary. Penn Dhamaka, the all–male South Asian fusion dance group, even made an appearance, and had the whole room dancing along to “Baby Shark."
The show was entertaining and exciting. Funk was able to showcase their extensive areas of talent through not only their movements, but also their facial expressions, which conveyed how passionate they felt about their art. During “Courage the Cowardly Dog,” they had the audience choked up when all of the members came together at the end in a tight hug, but then switched gears immediately to light–hearted fun as a performer dressed as Dora emerged on the stage. The closing piece definitely stole the show, when the crew took off their “Strictly Funk” hoodies to “Buttons” by the Pussycat Dolls. It was energetic and engaging, and by the end, I found myself wanting to rewatch all of my favorite childhood cartoons.
If you missed out on Strictly Funk’s shows this past weekend, you can catch them performing during Spring Fling this upcoming Saturday—don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing along the entire time.