Fusion: Bright Lights and Lingerie

The biggest and most extravagent campus event of the year has come and gone. Amy Scott takes a look at the highs and lows

Fusion, campus’s self-proclaimed biggest event, got a little bigger this year, with the dance and fashion extravaganza spread over two nights for the first time.

Fusion, so-called because of the mix of societies involved, has always been an urban-themed event, but this year the organisers shook things up. Music Director Tom Rogers says, “this year’s music is more versatile than last year’s as it covers the development of urban music from tribal music through jazz, burlesque, funk and hip-hop.”

Hosted by the hilarious (intentionally and otherwise) Mr Milk and visiting rapper Archie, the show got off to an impressive start with a tribal dance from the African and Caribbean Society, followed by an all-too-brief performance from Capoeira.

Next we moved to cabaret and jazz, featuring a slightly out-of-context set including Beyonce and the Pussycat Dolls, with performances from the Burlesque Girls. Next came the first performance from the trapeze artists as well as lingerie modeling. The Burlesque was sexy without being sleazy, whilst the tap was refreshingly different and the trapeze stunning. The only downside to this section was the lingerie; after the talent of the dancers and gymnasts, the ability to walk in underwear was a bit of a let-down.

Next on to early hip-hop and funk with breakdance squad Gravity Control and the street dancers. The arrival of Gravity Control summed up the main problem I had with Fusion as a whole; the juxtaposition of impressively diverse talent with people walking around looking attractive. The societies are clearly full of incredibly able and skilful performers and it is these sections that deserve the bulk of performance time. The prevalence given to urban dance routines over Capoeira, tap dancers, salsa, break dancers and the trapeze artists suggests that Fusion’s organisers are missing a trick.

After the interval, and some technical hitches involving Fusion’s beneficiary charities Hope and Aid Direct and InterAct, we returned to the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. In an event of this magnitude, it is hard to believe that one person could steal the show, but stolen it was by Jerome Edet with his turn as Michael Jackson. This section was simply stunning with Edet holding court as a parade of zombies lurched down the stairs of Central Hall.

So we found ourselves at the present day, with a Pharell-esque star being mobbed by girls, then some modern fashion and a large DanceSoc sequence. This was followed by the arrival of Pole Exercise, who had rather a lot of equipment to get on stage, but impressed all with their unique blend of strength and style. We also saw the return of the trapeze artists, who were magnificent, their seemingly death-defying stunts made all the more impressive by their grace and glamour. This is what Fusion does best – athleticism combined with aesthetics.

At the two-hour stage it would be fair to say that the audience were becoming restless, which is a shame as the Oriental Centre’s section featured some attractive fashions including parasols, fans and kimonos. This was promptly followed by some unexpected body-popping Phantom of the Operas dancing to Justin Timberlake. Next came an edgy fashion scene which concluded with models posed behind a wire fence – the most powerful image of the night. This was followed by a ‘Stomp’-esque sequence which would have been more enjoyable earlier in the night, but still shone. Finally we moved to the future with a striking post-apocalyptic ballet featuring Edet alongside fellow choreographer Jo Gledhill and a closing Matrix-inspired sequence.

And so the night drew to a close. Overall, Fusion was a massively successful event and all involved must be congratulated for their hard work and the amount of money they raise for charity each year. For future performances, however, it would be nice to see a little more focus on the many and varied niche performers who were truly the stars of this year’s show., po;