In their spectacular fall semester show “Vogue,” Arts House Dance Company proved just how well they can strike a balance between high fashion and high passion. The show, which took place at the Iron Gate Theater on Nov. 12 and 13, consisted of 12 different dances—each choreographed and performed by different combinations of the 19 member company. For upperclassmen, the show marked the first time they were able to perform together onstage for an audience since fall 2019, and for sophomores and first years, it was their first time ever. The company tapped into its impressive arsenal, utilizing a myriad of styles, techniques, and tempos and receiving a well–deserved standing ovation by the end of the night.
After many group brainstorming sessions, the show theme of “Vogue” was born. With unanimous approval and excitement, Arts House worked hard to ensure the concept came across to the public and that it effectively bound together each number. In terms of promotional materials, the company created Vogue Magazine covers with dancers showing off their flexibility and skill in impressive poses. Before each dance, a short clip that imitated scrolling through a mock article on Vogue’s website appeared with information like the choreographer, the dancers, and the upcoming number. To break up the performances, Arts House created interstitial videos in the style of Vogue’s Youtube channel, including its very own 73 Questions and Day in the Life.
Arts House’s Costume Director Alexandra Budnick (E '24) choreographed a contemporary number to Finneas’ “I Lost A Friend,” working to match the oscillating intensity of the track with a performance full of both tenderness and explosiveness. Fluid and emotional movements in the number were punctuated with hard–hitting motions. The audience’s appreciation for the dance was palpable—applause filled the theater after impressive tricks, and attendees stood up in their seats to cheer on friends upon its end. Despite the song title making the music’s message explicit, Alexandra hoped to prompt the audience to find personal resonance and reflect on the dance in terms of something meaningful in their own lives.
While Alexandra’s choreography centered around a deep and emotional subject matter, other performances brought different energies to the stage. One such dance was “Fergalicious,” choreographed by Artistic Director Esther Beren (C '23), which paired iconic dance moves like The Nae Nae with a familiar upbeat early–2000s tune to rally the audience halfway through the second act. For Natalia Lee (W ’25), an Arts House “newb,” this dance was particularly memorable due to its light–hearted swagger—even though she was outside of her comfort zone as someone who doesn’t usually dance hip–hop. “You hear the crowd cheering and then you go even harder in the dance,” she says. “That was my most enjoyable number.”
In similarly hyped up fashion, “ArtsMaka: Sexy and We Know It” surprised the audience by bringing members of Penn Dhamaka onto the stage to join Arts House. The number was a high–energy mashup of LMFAO, Maroon 5, and Bhangra music which gave the performance a taste of DMAK’s signature South Asian–fusion style. As the closing number of the first act, the dance left audiences hungry for the second half of the performance, rising from their seats to clap for the dancers and turning to their neighbors to express their awe at the performers’ talent as the curtains closed for the intermission.
The diversity of the performances in Arts House’s show is a direct reflection of the performers who unite based on their love of dance. “One of my favorite things about Arts House is how multifaceted all of the dancers are,” Alexandra says. “No one dancer has a specific style, which I think makes us really unique.” As a result, the show was varied and exciting, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. Every audience member could find something they like, whether it be the numbers that make them teary–eyed or the ones that make them smile and laugh.
Audiences who attended Arts House’s “Vogue” show experienced much more than a handful of technically impressive and highly creative dances. Smiles and hugs after each dance, heckling alumni, and adorable behind the scenes video footage gave spectators a glimpse into the strong and loving community that defines the group. While the show deserves much praise for technical points like cohesive costuming and flow, it also warrants yet another standing ovation for exemplifying what it means for students to support and care for one another like family. “Vogue” proved that, while Arts House is certainly not a physical house made of walls and beams, it does earn its name by providing a home for this talented community of dancers.