Archive for the ‘Dance’ Category

Skit Night 2011: Pirates of the Caribbean

Sep 3rd 2012

Skit Night. THE event of the Greek calendar year.

Skit Night is an event better experienced than explained, but I’m going to attempt to anyways. It is a two-night competition where the greek chapters put on amazing performances filled with music, dancing, costumes, sets, humor, acting, EVERYTHING! All wrapped up into an 8-minute slot. Chapters prepare for their skits months in advance (well, most of them). For the chapters that take it seriously, there are some incredible products that come from their months of hard work, planning, and rehearsing.

It was the second year that I was put in charge of it all for my chapter and I really wanted to push not only my chapter, but the event entirely, to a new level. Skit Night takes place every year in April, I began planning for the 2011 show in the summer of 2010 (I was back home in New Jersey bored out of my mind). I watched each of the films endlessly to gather notes on plotlines that could potentially work, understand the tone of the dialogue, and study Jack Sparrow’s mannerisms. When I returned to school in the fall I put my planning on hold to prepare for Airbands 2010 which took place in October. After Airbands was completed it was back to work. Two of my fraternity brothers, Derek Dolechek and Paul Lee, where my right hand men. We constantly bounced ideas around and worked hard to solidify the flow of the show and any key factors we wanted to include. The show would not have been possible without all of their help and hard work, thanks guys!!

One of my favorite parts about creating this show was selecting the music. Hans Zimmer, the composer of the soundtracks, is a genius. There’s no other way to explain it. I absolutely love his work and it was a pleasure studying the soundtracks inside and out to see which selections I would use in the show. (I could go one forever about Zimmer’s work. Inception… The Batman/Dark Night scores…. don’t get me started)

Choreographing the show, Paul and I worked on using more of the stage than we had previously done and faced our usual issues with this event (similar to Airbands). As much as I may want to add in something intricate, or turns, or a leap, I have to face the reality that these guys aren’t dancers. They’re just your typical 20-something year old fraternity guys in college. So, facing this realization, we strove to keep our choreography realistic, while also pushing the abilities of the guys, and honestly I’m still very impressed with what they were capable of.

After months and months of planning, choreographing, selecting and making costumes, designing the set, rehearsing, going to class, not sleeping, and reminding myself to stop and eat something, it was finally time for the performance. Everything went amazingly and we received a standing ovation from the crowd at the conclusion of the finale. This show has been one of my proudest moments of my college career. It showed me just how much myself and my chapter are capable of doing. Every time I go back and watch this video I’m thrilled at how months of planning, stress, and enjoyment paid off in the end.

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    Fun Facts About the Process

  • Davy Jones’ beard is made of yarn (with the stage lighting no one could tell)
  • For about a year during and after the show, most of my friends referred to me as “Captain Black Sparrow”
  • My second place and below theme choices included: Jumanji, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and The Twilight Zone.
  • Jumanji ended up being the theme for Alpha Phi’s skit that year (and happened to be my favorite skit of the night)
  • A year later 2 sororities went with Indiana Jones as their themes
  • Some chapters come up with fake themes to circulate around the community and keep their theme a secret until the show


  • Direction: Kevin Cox
  • Choreography: Paul Lee, Kevin Cox
  • Script/Writing: Derek Dolechek, Andrew Carter
  • Lighting: Derek Dolechek, Kevin Cox
  • Audio/Editing: Kevin Cox
  • Costume & Set Design: Derek Dolechek, Tressa Grummer, Kevin Cox
  • Voice Overs: Cody Morgan, Derek Dolechek, Dario Oman, Aaron Bollinger, Dylan Ragland, Christian Efseaff

Airbands 2011: And the Artist of the Year is…

Aug 27th 2012

(For a brief description of the event, “Airbands,” please see the previous post Airbands 2010.)

Coming off of our great partnership in 2010, Jessica Quirk and I decided to team our chapters (FIJI and Delta Gamma) up again to wreck house in Airbands 2011. This year we wanted to take Airbands back to its roots by focusing on the lip-syncing aspect. We modeled the performance after the reading of the nominees at music award shows. The award was “artist of the year.” Each artist had their named announced as their music transitioned in and gave a brief performance of their hit song. Sadly, in the video the cheering covers the voice over of each artist. Focusing on lip-syncing, each artist performed with a headset and the rest of the performers acted as backup dancers.

Jessica and I had a ton of fun brainstorming for this performance and testing things out. The opening scene was definitely of favorite scenes of the show. I feel as though my intentions and ideas communicated strongest in that scene. We also decided to make commemorative tanks for this year as well.

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  • Direction: Kevin Cox
  • Choreography: Jessica Quirk, Kevin Cox
  • Audio/Editing: Kevin Cox
  • Lighting: Derek Dolechek
  • Katy Perry: Jessica Quirk
  • Adam Levine: Michael Rivera
  • Britney Spears: Katie Barnum
  • Lady Gaga: Sarah Sheade
  • Chris Brown: Kevin Cox

Airbands 2010: It’s A Jersey Thing

Aug 26th 2012

Every fall the sorority of Gamma Phi Beta hosts an event called “Airbands.” In its early years, the event was purely a lip-syncing competition where the greek houses competed against each other. Over the years it grew far beyond that. Now, it’s a full-out, dance-driven, two-night, sold out show. Greek houses and other organizations on campus put on performances of great music, dancing, and costuming. The event actually grew beyond that at one point and started to resemble a spring event called “Skit Night,” but I’ll get around to that event later.

In 2010 the MTV show, “The Jersey Shore” was at its peek of popularity with its cast of crazy, drunk, anything-goes group of “guidos” and “guidettes.” Being a New Jersey native, now living in Southern California, I thought it would be really fun to use the show as the theme of our Airbands performance.

The theme was a great fit for my chapter, Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), and the sorority we paired up with, Delta Gamma. We all got done up in bronzer, sprayed our hair black, spiked it, styled it, and threw on our bedazzled wife-beaters. The performance was in short, a 4-minute long house party. It was a great time for everyone.

We also made a last-minute decision to have tanks made to celebrate the performance, so I whipped these up and had them made after the event.

About the Process

Preparing for the show I chose some really fun and well-known songs from the Jersey Shore soundtrack. I wanted the show to feel like a night out at the club with DJ Pauly D. So, I cut the music down to the specific parts that I wanted, and then to give it a more professional touch, I passed it along to one of the brothers that was a DJ, who later added in DJ-esque transitions and sound effects.

My partner in crime and close friend, Jessica Quirk, headed this project with me and together we whipped our chapters into performers. Choreographing for these sorts of events is always tricky, you have to remind yourself that 95% of the group is in no way, shape, or form, “dancers,” so the choreography has to be realistic for them, but it must also still be creative and interesting.

Overall I was incredibly pleased with how it all turned out. I might be a little biased, but I have to say we had the sickest soundtrack of the night. You can’t beat a 4-minute house party on stage!

[ilightbox id=”1″]WATCH VIDEO[/ilightbox]