Bwog reviews Orchesis’ spring showcase InterstellOrchesis, which ran for two performances in Roone Arledge Auditorium on Friday, April 5.

If you’ve been to an Orchesis showcase—in which students from Columbia’s largest student dance group come together to perform the best of their choreography—then you’re already aware of the disclaimer I’m about to make: the show’s stated theme, whatever it happens to be that night, has nothing to do with what you’re about to see. You also know that this does not, in any way, detract from the quality of the production. The theme is a mere suggestion. 

For the group’s spring showcase, which took place in two performances last Friday, said theme was “InterstellOrchesis.” In typical Orchesis fashion, only the show’s four interludes—Beyoncé’s “Alien Superstar” (choreographed by Effy Jo, BC ‘24), the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” (choreographed by Pia Velazquez, BC ‘25), Katy Perry’s “E.T.” (choreographed by Breanna Ellison, CC ‘26), and Lady Gaga’s “Venus” (choreographed by Romane Lavandier, BC ‘24)—seemed to take the theme literally. Other numbers felt unrelated entirely. Early in the two-act, 19-song show came a medley of songs from Taylor Swift’s Reputation (choreographed by Maya Groothuis, CC ‘26, and Esme Tomaszweski, CC ‘26), which, while not exactly space-themed, was well-choreographed and performed enthusiastically enough to have been the backdrop for any of that era’s music videos. Just after intermission came “Step in Time” from Mary Poppins, (choreographed by Tal Bloom BC ‘26 and Madeleine Rosenthal, BC ‘26), complete with chimney sweep costumes and a tap dance break, which—once the initial confusion wore off—was one of the show’s most entertaining highlights. Taken as a series of unrelated vignettes, InterstellOrchesis was a fun, incredibly well-executed showcase that allowed each of its 20 choreographers to shine.

This was a particularly stellar year for the seniors of Orchesis, dancers and choreographers alike. The senior interlude, set to “Venus” by Lady Gaga and choreographed by Lavandier, was a lively, engaging number that allowed the graduating dancers to show off the impressive technical skills they’ve built in Orchesis, while also prompting the audience to celebrate alongside them. Seniors and co-choreographers Isa Farfán (BC ‘24) and Lucy Kudlinski (BC ‘24) stood out with their work on the show’s penultimate number, Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” where a combination of excellent technique, spectacular 70s costuming, and enthusiasm from the audience made it a highlight of the night. Meanwhile, senior Lila Chafe (BC ‘24) was absolutely radiant as a soloist in the Lavandier-choreographed number “Girls Against God” (set to the same-named song by Florence + the Machine). (Flowy, Midsommar-esque numbers set to songs from Florence + the Machine’s Dance Fever seem to be an ongoing trend for Orchesis this year, and they haven’t disappointed yet.) With dreamlike movements that evolved into stunning tableaus and perfectly executed multicolored light cues that complemented the minimalist, autumnal costumes, “Girls Against God” stood out as one of the strongest—and most emotional—performances of the night.

There was no shortage of heavier, more emotional numbers, “Girls Against God” and Renee Rapp’s “Snow Angel,” choreographed by Brianna Lubin (CC ‘25) included. Still, the production was exactly what an Orchesis showcase should be: fun for everyone involved. Joy radiated in larger group numbers like “Step in Time,” “Bennie and the Jets,” and Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams” (choreographed by Jo), where impressive choreography met enthusiasm to make for a production as technically proficient as it was full of life. (Truly, costume coordinators Reese Yen, CC ‘27, Lilian Yao, CC ‘27, and Ivy Zhang, SEAS ‘27, deserve extra praise for the way their pitch-perfect costuming choices brought numbers like “Step in Time,” “Bennie and the Jets,” and “Girls Against God” to life.)

If the big group numbers hadn’t made it obvious that InterstellOrchesis was a show as equally fun to perform as it was to watch, the finale—in which all of the show’s roughly 200 dancers took the stage to Nicki Minaj’s “Starships”—certainly brought that message home. Though it might have been one of few songs that stuck to the InterstellOrchesis theme, “Starships” solidified what made this production so special: more so than the strong technical elements, InterstellOrchesis worked because, like all the best Orchesis shows, it was mostly focused on creating a good time.

This article has been edited to correct a student’s name.

Header via Olivia Kuan-Romano