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Synchrony II Winter Term performance

Lev Shuster
Students dancing in the Synchrony II’s performance

At 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 26 and 27, Synchrony II had their Winter Term performance, “Synchrony Gets SAD (Synchrony Affective Disorder),” in the Great Hall. 

To prepare for the show, the Synchrony II directors, (Holly Lake ’25, Zoe Yamaguchi ’25, Claudia d’Auria ’24, Taylor Canas ’25 and Grace Gatewood ’24), were tasked with advertising, recruiting and figuring out logistics. Great Hall is a new location for Synchrony II, as they traditionally perform in Sayles. During renovations, Synchrony II performed in Cowling,

Students posing in “Mandance” (Lev Shuster)

but what they thought was a temporary relocation turned out to be long term: “We were under the assumption we could use Sayles,” said Lake. “The administration emailed us telling us no, but they booked us the Great Hall.”

The performance requires significant technology, such as lighting, speakers and cameras for recording, meaning the directors have to get in contact with Carleton’s Presentation, Events and Production Support Services (PEPS) well in advance. Recruiting took place largely over winter break, emailing both previous choreographers and dancers to gauge interest. “Getting everyone involved is challenging,” said Canas. “But there’s also something beautiful about the diversity of the dancers and giving people confidence. It is so awesome to see as we are going through this transitional part of our lives.” 

With only four weeks to pull together their Winter Term performance, dancing for Synchrony II can be “a bit of a commitment,” admitted Lake. But as yearly returners bring new dancers to the group, numbers grow despite the time commitment. While Synchrony II continues to work on reaching the same level of engagement it had pre-COVID, this was their biggest performance since it restarted after COVID in 2022. 

Seating quickly reached capacity before the Saturday night show, leaving standing room only. Students jostled for a place in the audience, creating a crowd in the back of the Great Hall that flowed forward to include students crammed in the narrow aisles between seat and wall on either side of the room. 

Over the loud EDM blasting from the speakers, attendees shared their pre-show thoughts. “It’s poppin’, watching people dance is entertaining,” said Linnea Williams ’26. “In a nice way!” she was quick to add. Sadie Hanscom ’26 explained that she attended this show due to previous positive experiences: “I came because all the other ones were highly entertaining.” Having built themselves a campus-wide reputation, Synchrony II enticed both returners and newcomers. One such newcomer was Sophia Jazaeri ’27, who had never seen a Synchrony II performance before. Her first impression, before the show even began, was a feeling of electricity: “I think the atmosphere in the building is electric and has the energy of a middle school dance in a good way.” The audience was rife with anticipation and energetic chatter could be heard throughout. 

A student performs a handstand during the show. (Lev Shuster)

The show began with a loud “whoo” from the back as the performers completed their cheer, performed to the tune of “We Are Family.” The lights then dimmed, leaving only white spotlights piercing through the darkness. These lights shone on the five Synchrony II directors standing on stage. Introductions and a brief statement were given before the room was submerged yet again into darkness. It was dancing time. 

Green light flooded the stage as the nostalgic opening notes of “Fireflies” by Owl City began to play. The first troupe rushed on stage, performing moves very emblematic of the literal meaning of the lyrics. Amidst the roars of approval, distinct cheers could be heard, such as one audience member shouting, “I love fireflies!”

“Frog on the Floor,” by the band 100 gecs, followed, resulting in a variety of dance moves, such as twerking and frog jumping. 

Thunderous applause and a shift from green to blue lighting transitioned the show to its next segment. New performers began dancing to the song “Pony” by Genuwine. While there didn’t seem to be a dance move the audience didn’t love, a crowd-favorite — if the volume of cheering is to be taken as any indication of their approval rating — was “the synchrony crawl.” This dance move, in which a performer is on all fours and moves their back up and down, is required in all synchrony choreography and was present in each segment. 

Following this was Mandance, choreographed by Alejandro Gonzalez ’24 and Rahim Hamid ’26. When asked why they chose to do Synchrony II, what they’re proud of, and what was the most fun part, Rahim simply answered: “stripping, making others strip, and stripping.” The Mandance segment of Synchrony II began with men running on stage and shouting, clad in white t-shirts under the glow of pink spotlights. Dance moves for this portion including pelvic thrusts, kissing their flexed biceps and ripping the t-shirt off of their dance partner, performed to a soundtrack consisting of “Gentlemen” by PSY, “Gasolina” by Daddy Yankee and “Mundian To Bach Ke” by Panjabi MC.

Waves of new dancers flooded the stage periodically, corresponding with the color-changes of the overhead lighting. The dancers’ facial expressions varied from concentrated, furrowed brows and lips pressed together, to joyful, wide smiles and crinkled eyes. The dance moves were just as diverse, ranging from a can-can kickline to open splits on the ground. Synchrony II’s Winter Term performance ended with an all-inclusive dance party. Strobing lights of a variety of colors illuminated the room as dancers coaxed audience members out of their seats and onto the stage.

All of the Synchrony II directors expressed pride in their work. Lake loves it when “when people say they are having a good time and look like they’re having a good time,” recalling a particular moment of gratification when “someone told me Synchrony is their favorite part of the term.”

“I love when someone choreographs for the first time,” gushed Yamaguchi. “I’m always very proud of them and happy to be part of their experience.” 

An overarching theme shared by many of the directors was how the goal of fostering a fun atmosphere drove their commitment to Synchrony II. Gatewood described Synchrony II as “the most fun [they’ve] had at Carleton,” going on to explain that they became a director for Synchrony II because they didn’t want it to die out as previous directors graduated. Those in Synchrony II do it because they love it, and their love for their craft is infectious. “I’m happy 

when people enjoy it,” said Lake. “That’s what it’s meant to be.”

The impact of such a welcoming and inclusive environment on display at the Synchrony II stage was not lost on its audience. Reflecting on her first time attending a Synchrony II performance, Jazeri said, “It was honestly really cool, seeing everyone just smiling and dancing was fun. I’m used to dance being an art form reserved for a very specific group of people. It was really nice to see all kinds of people performing and having fun and showing off the work they’d done.”

(All photos taken by Lev Shuster ’24).

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Mileana Borowski
Mileana Borowski, Managing Editor
I am a junior Political Science major who loves to write! I take midday showers, have a professional stunt double (shout out to my identical twin), and I love my stuffed animals maybe a little too much. I have a cactus named The Cliffords and a plant named Francis. If you're having a conversation with me for longer than thirty seconds and I haven't mentioned my dog, please check in because something is probably wrong. Mileana was previously News Editor, Bald Spot Editor and Design Editor.

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