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'Stomp' reaches new heights

The musical and dance group "Stomp" made a stop last weekend at Shea's Performing Arts Center. As the colorful lights dimmed, the performers made their way onstage with brooms that spun and stomped along the floor to create an assortment of captivating sounds.

As a lover of the arts, I was more than excited to see how these talented performers could maintain the excitement for 100 minutes without uttering a word. Creativity occupied the stage right from the start. The background contained a plethora of cluttered items, including caution signs, trash cans, crutches, ladders and pots on the equivalent of a climbing wall. The performers -- two women and six men -- walked onstage wearing worn-out street clothes. They fit perfectly with the set, which I soon discovered wasn't just for show. Midway through, the performers climbed up ladders and strapped themselves to rope. Swaying back and forth, two performers banged on items in unison while the others stood behind using other items to blend the sounds together.

With well over a dozen explosive routines, "Stomp" continuously wowed audience members with its inventiveness. Water drained out into buckets when the performers walked out with entire sink units creating trickling sounds. The theater went dark while the eight performers lined up with lighters. It was as if someone had turned on a switch when patterns of lighters lit up. At one point, shadows glided along the walls of the theater when the lights changed.

One routine included tall garbage-can makeshift stilts with ski boots. The performers not only mastered walking in stilts but also managed to create rhythms by stomping.

The routines became increasingly energetic and humorous. Comedy was accomplished through mime and acting that proved an integral part of the performance. The crowd reacted with constant clapping and laughter.

Routines changed quickly, and the use of various items kept audience members on the edge of their seats, curious to view the next "instrument."

Lighters, basketballs, inner tubes, newspapers, dust pans, chairs, plastic bags all mixed uniquely together while the performers moved to their creation of lively rhythms and beats. The show was filled with energy as the group members, animated and clearly having fun, incorporated the audience. The performers clapped different rhythms, and the energetic crowd, made up of all ages, was eager to mimic the beats.

When the cast left the stage after the last routine, audience members instantly stood up eager for more. Soon enough, the performers obliged and sprinted back with a combination of all the props seen throughout the show. It was incredible to see all they could do with everyday household items.

By the end of the show, everyday noises had been transformed into exquisite music.


Leanora Karnath is a senior at Buffalo Seminary.