In April, spring finally sprang, and as many students hit snooze to get a pinch of extra sleep, choreographers were up with the morning doves, drilling their dance teams to prepare for the finale of Greek Week.
A weeklong celebration of the Panhellenic social, multicultural and academic organizations on campus, Greek Week culminated in Airband, a gigantic competition of dancing on Friday, April 27. Just after 7:00 p.m., fraternities and sororities took the stage at the Bob Carpenter Center, decked out in costumes to perform choreographed dances to illustrate pop cultural themes. Movies like “The Avengers,” and a “The Last Airbender” pun “The Last Airbander” were communicated through remixed songs and dance fight scenes.
Airband judging is done by impartial faculty members, who pick the top three teams from fraternities and sororities. At first place this year were Sigma Phi Delta (SPD), the men’s engineering fraternity with their “Toy Story” and Chi Omega (Chi-O), the social women’s sorority with a show of “Clash of the Titans.”
To reach first place, both teams underwent hours of hard work. In the month before Airband, Greek organizations that compete can be found practicing at various spaces across the university’s campus, like Trabant’s multipurpose rooms and the Little Bob’s gyms.
Kyle Horsham, a junior civil engineering major, was the Airband chair for SPD. He found Airband fun and interesting his freshman year, and at the end of spring semester last year, he applied to be the Airband chair.
“When we were freshmen, we didn’t take it very seriously, but a year after, that would be last year, we stepped it up, realized we had a lot of potential so we got really into it,” he said.
With $300 to work with, Horsham went to work choosing a theme to build their performance around. Two of the fraternity brothers’ girlfriend’s helped SPD choreograph their dance, and their long practices paid off while they enjoyed themselves at Airband.
SPD had originally wanted Willy Wonka, but that was taken. Horsham emailed the airband organizers and got SPD’s last choice: “Toy Story.”
Horsham said SPD had no rivals or competitors — they just wanted to place in the the top three and had a great time reaching this goal. Horsham said he loved Sig Nu’s hilarious crossdressing dance “The Nu girls on the Block.” He thought Alpha Omicron Epsilon, SPD’s sister sorority, was a hit. He also had words of support for the sorority group champions.
“As soon as Chi-O came out we knew they would be great,” Horsham said.
Victoria Basile, a senior cognitive science and speech pathology major was the Airband coordinator for Chi Omega, who won with their enormous show of “Clash of the Titans”. Basile has participated in Airband all four years of her Chi-O membership, rising through the ranks for the organized planning process until she was the head of the Airband committee.
A dedicated planner and dancer, Basile has been dancing her whole life. Her busy schedule left no time for one of the university’s competitive dance teams, so Airband became her favorite part of being in her sorority. Basile personally focuses on using internal competition to have fun and bring Chi-O’s chapter together.
At the event, one freshman dancer in Beta Theta Pi and new to Greek Week, asked aloud why men and women’s teams are judged separately. As soon as Alpha Zeta Delta came on stage with their rendition of “IT,” the answer was clear- the sororities put on more complex shows.
“There is healthy rivalry between sororities, but we didn’t focus on other that, focusing on drama is not something Chi-O wants to do,” she said. ”If we didn’t win, we would have still felt like we won.”
Though it is rumored some sororities hire professional make-up artists and spend thousands of dollars to create epic shows, Basile could not comment on how much Chi-O dedicated towards Airband.
“I don’t handle it, but I know there is a budget for every UD event, everything is done budget wise, it’s not like it takes a lot of money.” Basile said. “The talent the girls have they are able to work with nothing, the girls are so talented.”
Basile went through many different options to choose this year’s theme. Last year’s “The Dark Knight” theme helped land Chi-O the first prize, and she wanted to repeat that success with another strong story.
“I dissected a lot of movies; I wanted a character with a strong female role, a woman as a heroine and not just a victim,” she said. “It was definitely all about the storyline and message.”
The remix Chi-O created had a Lady Gaga quote in the middle: “If you’re a strong female, you don’t need permission,” which was a highlight for Basile and the audience.
In the end, Horsham sees Airband as an outlet for school spirit.
“It’s great because we don’t have much spirit with athletics, so it’s nice to see school spirit with Airband,” Horsham said.