With COVID-19 restrictions easing back, Airband 2021 was able to look a bit more normal.
On April 10, nine groups took a deep breath and performed the choreography they had been practicing for months, showing off their lip-synch skills while they were at it. It was a highly gratifying night for everyone involved, not only because of the great performances that were left on the stage, but also because last year’s Airband was put on the backburner due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
However, this year, performers were able to go without masks and flaunt the dance moves they had rehearsed for several months, including some performances that had been reworked from the year before, to the rest of the student body
With such a long hiatus from the event, the hype was palpable.
But beyond the costumes and exciting music, Airband is largely a way to participate further in the community at Taylor.
To freshman Kay Rideout, the community aspect of Airband could be seen every step of the way, whether on or off the stage.
“I think community was built before Airband, in the rehearsal rooms and hours spent learning choreography alongside friends and wing-mate,” said Rideout. “I think community is built in the ‘dressing rooms’ during Airband, when other acts cheer for you after you come back from a performance. I think community is built when the audience interacts with something you’ve worked hard to create.”
Every Airband group’s main task is to choose a theme for their wing and other participants, curate songs to go along with it and create choreography for the music.
It’s a way for everyone’s personalities to shine in a unified performance through an outlet of creativity not usually accessed at other events at Taylor.
This was one of Rideout’s favorite parts.
“I loved the last few practices when things really started coming together,” said Rideout. “People were a lot more confident in the choreography by that point, and we started to just have fun at rehearsals.”
Rideout is on First East Olson, but performed with Second Center Wengatz on the night of Airband. Their theme was “Love Connection,” a dating show that aired during the 1980s, just one example of the creative ideas that students came up with for this event.
Junior Linnea Solak was another performer in Airband this year. With her wing Second West Olson, her brother floor First East Wengatz and other participants, Solak’s group brought Saturday morning cartoons to life for the audience.
To Solak, Airband is “another shared experience for pretty much everyone on campus. If you aren’t involved, you usually at least watch it, and it’s cool that we all get involved.”
While she was disappointed that this year was a little different than years previous with fewer audience members, teams separated and social distancing, Solak thought that Inter-class Council (ICC) still did a wonderful job getting everyone involved on campus.
In the end, only one team could win. And while Rideout and Solak’s groups fought hard till the end, it was the pirates with a rendition of “Pirates of the Caribbean” that took home the win for Airband this year at both the 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows.
This was a favorite act of both Rideout and Solak.
“‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ won both shows, and I think they earned those wins,” said Rideout. “Their dance was well thought-out, super dynamic and they threw chocolate coins in the air — what’s not to love?”
All-in-all, Airband this year was a huge success with the energy turned up by those who participated, whether that was in the audience or on the stage.