Fashion ‘n’ Motion ‘ignites’ passion

(Photo by Jody Waardenburg).
(Photo by Jody Waardenburg).

With every passing year at Laurier, Fashion ‘n’ Motion (FnM) proves that it’s not about the quality of the performance, it’s about igniting the passion behind it. Not to say that FnM’s shows, on Friday March 15 and Saturday March 16, fell short in any way. While the technicality of the dances was at times lacking, the audience could tell that the dancers were enjoying themselves too much to focus on getting every single move perfect.

This was much more important than anything: FnM is not about putting on the most technical show, it’s about leaving an impact with the chosen charity and gaining lasting memories. As per FnM tradition, all the proceeds from the ticket sales as well as anything they have earned from the past year will be going to the SickKids Foundation. The final total will not be calculated until early April, but it is estimated that a sizable amount will be donated.

This was the first year that an FnM exec team went to SickKids Hospital in Downtown Toronto.

“I believe that my exec team became much more passionate about this cause because we got to see firsthand what it was like there,” reminiscenced Noelle Antkowiak, current president of FnM. “We were able to make a documentary and brought our experience back to the cast to inspire them further.”

With their 20th year at Laurier, and its second as a campus club, Antkowiak wanted to do something different and memorable. She decided to reach out to previous presidents of FnM through Facebook to remind the dancers and the exec team that they are part of something bigger than themselves and to always remember that.

“I started a Facebook group to get each president to add the president before me. I was trying to meet the person who started [Fashion ‘n’ Motion] … one day I was just thinking and realized the person who started FnM must be 40 years old,” said Antkowiak. “I wanted to invite all the presidents to the Saturday show so we could do a tribute.”

At her last count, Antkowiak had made it back ten years; it was a humbling experience to look at all those who came before her. This year’s theme, “Ignite,” isn’t just for FnM — it’s relatable for all of Laurier. Antkowiak described it as that inner fire that everybody has, which really applies to this year’s passionate cast.

However the show was not all about the dancing. FnM also featured three modeling scenes, sponsored by local shops Gloss, Delirium and Colour. Laurier’s Next Top Model winners Alisha Suggit and Adrian Cattrysse, both dancers in the show, were the first to talk down the catwalk wearing clothes donated by the three stores. Working with a cast of over 100 dancers and ten execs can be stressful but ultimately FnM pulled together a great and inspiring two-night show.

Despite the feel-good attitude of the night, there were still a few issues. During the opening scene, there were long pauses of silence as the dancers ran backstage to do “quick changes”— when dancers run backstage to quickly change for the next scene. Overall there were many notable numbers that stood out. Maddy Blais’ jazz choreography was cheeky and clever, incorporating a spoken word number by Drake to break up the vast differences between “Sail” by Awolnation and “Want You Back” by Cher Lloyd.

Ian Watson’s transition set to “Toxic” by District 78 was unnerving and haunting. It could have easily been expanded into its own scene instead of a short transition. Lauryn Lovie’s all cast performance before the intermission paid tribute to SickKids — she began with “How to Save a Life” by the Fray and set the scene in a hospital waiting room, giving a jarring reminder of the reason why everyone was truly at the show.

It wasn’t for the dancing, for the fashion or for the friendships created over the past year. It was for the children.

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