Review: Cultural Series finale offers 'high energy show'

Review: Cultural Series finale offers 'high energy show'

The Etherredge Center completed this year’s cultural series on Friday, March 22, with a lively performance by the international dance troupe known as the StepCrew.

This performance included a five-person band, Gaelic vocals by Glasgow-born singer, Maeve Mackinnon, and four dancers. With three styles of dance, including Irish step dancing and Ottawa Valley tap, the StepCrew is an energetic ensemble with an abundance of talent.

“What you’re going to see here is a very high energy show,” said Jon Pilatzke, the Ottawa stepdancer, and violinist who led the show with lighthearted commentary between songs. The show did not disappoint, as it ended with roaring applause and the standing ovation from the audience.

His brother, Nathan Pilatzke, is also in the ensemble. His dance style is equal parts skill and high-energy performance, which has earned him the nickname "crazy legs." Other dancers in the group included Irish stepdancer, Cara Butler, and Christine Carr, who has studied Ottawa Valley step dancing, ballet, jazz and tap.

Jon Pilatzke took the time to introduce each member, gladly shedding light on their many accomplishments- with jokes aplenty. 

Shane Cook, a distinguished Canadian violinist, fiddled his way to fame internationally, touring in Europe, the U.S., and Asia. On Friday, his skill was evident without even mentioning his many accomplishments, including winning the largest fiddle contest in the U.S. One song, which he performed with accompaniment from the StepCrew band, sent a contagious wave of toe-tapping through the audience. 

The ensemble also included Karl Zerfas on bass, Will MacMorran on guitar, Kirk White on drums and Erin Searson on the keyboard.  

"Celtic culture is so big here in South Carolina," said Paul Crook, executive director of the Etherredge Center, remarking that the choice to end this year's cultural series with a Celtic group was a positive one. 

Notably, this year's cultural series began last semester with a Celtic voice ensemble, which premiered on November 15. 

"You can tell when the artists are having a good time and are having fun," said Crook, adding that he could tell the step crew was thoroughly enjoying the performance. 

 This show was not the StepCrew's first performance in Aiken and Jon Pilatzke said that it is "becoming a little bit like a second home." 

 "It's always a joy to come back," he continued. "The people are lovely, and the response to the show is always fantastic."


Editor’s Note: Courtesy photo provided by the Etherredge Center.

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