Picks of the week: On-campus groups gear up for semester of performances

BareStage actors sing and dance together
Raghav Mathur/Courtesy

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Now that school is in session once again at UC Berkeley, student organizations — including performance groups — are gearing up for the upcoming semester and generating excitement among those interested in joining the different groups. Dance companies, musical troupes, improv teams and more are set both to perform and host auditions this week, so if you’ve been yearning for a creative outlet or a community of performers to befriend — look no further.

Wednesday, Aug. 30 — Ballet Company @ Berkeley ([email protected]) Auditions Day 2

Ballet Company @ Berkeley, or [email protected], was created in 2009 as UC Berkeley’s first on-campus ballet company. With a focus on personal growth, technical training and performance experience, [email protected] is a space for new and lifelong dancers to enrich their academic experiences with ballet. Auditions for the company will be Aug. 28 and 30 from 6-8 p.m., with make-up auditions set for Sept. 6. Auditions are free and open to anyone — with or without dance experience — but will be taught at an intermediate level. Before auditions, the company will be holding an open class with free admission Aug. 26, also from 6-8 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 31 — Thrive Dance Company Auditions

Thrive Dance Company is UC Berkeley’s premier contemporary dance company. Known for their emotive, almost avant-garde productions, Thrive dancers spent the summer choreographing, rehearsing and shooting a video album — their interpretation of Frank Ocean’s 2016 album, “Blonde.” Their audition process begins Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, from 7-9 p.m., when they will host mandatory workshops for auditionees to learn the choreography for the audition piece. Official auditions will be held Sept. 2 from 11-2 p.m. The workshops are free, but the auditions for Sept. 2 include a $5 audition fee.

Friday, Sept. 1 — Improvaganza

Once per semester, UC Berkeley’s four student improv comedy teams — TBD Comedy, Best Laid Plans, improv4charity and jericho! improv & sketch comedy — come together for a collaborative show in which the teams take turns performing hilarious improvised sets. It’s a unique opportunity to familiarize oneself with all four teams, a few of which will be holding auditions in the subsequent days. The sets, which begin at 8 p.m., will run the gamut in terms of improv styles; long-form, scene-building formats will be performed alongside short-form games, with both styles requiring audience participation. Though you never know what you’re going to get at an improv show, one thing is guaranteed: plenty of laughter, on a night you won’t want to miss.

Saturday, Sept. 2 — BareTroupe Auditions

BareTroupe is a student-run musical theater troupe featuring singers, dancers and performers. Auditions will be taking place Saturday from 2-6 p.m., and sign-ups are available here. The groups ask that those auditioning prepare 32 bars/1 minute of a musical theater song (sheet music and backing tracks are fine, or you can sing a capella). They also note that headshots and résumés are optional but preferred. Auditions take place in the Choral Rehearsal Hall.

Sunday, Sept. 3 — Berkeley Relay for Life Fest featuring Drake Bell

Catch up with your favorite Nickelodeon star and musician Drake Bell at this charity concert hosted at Pauley Ballroom in the MLK Student Union. Organized by We Dream Worlds and Colleges Against Cancer at UC Berkeley, the event features not only Drake Bell but also supporting DJ sets by five UC Berkeley fraternities and one from We Dream Worlds: Aidan Naughton from Delta Kappa Epsilon; GhostDragon from We Dream Worlds; Marcus Lee from Sigma Phi Epsilon; Michael Lanza from Pi Kappa Phi; WaitWhat from Pi Kappa Phi; and 3DGVR from Lambda Phi Epsilon. All proceeds (tickets are $15 ahead of time and $20 at the door) support Relay For Life, the community-based fundraising event sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Shannon O’Hara is the arts & entertainment editor. Contact her at [email protected].
Contact Imad Pasha at [email protected]. Tweet him at @prappleizer.
Sophie-Marie Prime is the assistant arts & entertainment editor. Contact her at [email protected].