by Rachel Wicks, Managing Editor
On September 9, this past Friday, UMass Dartmouth became host to the most recent venue for the nationally renowned dance experience Back2Life.
Returning for the second year in a row, Back2Life is a program that sends DJs and MCs to universities across the country to gather students together for a night of flashing lights, fog machines, and dancing.
Crowded together around the stage, students go wild for the chance to get a free T-Shirt or have rainbow streamers rain down on them, all the while rocking out to the latest remixes and beat drops.
Starting late in the evening, UMass Dartmouth students congregated around the stage in the amphitheater and the next installment of Back2Life’s official Animals Tour began.
Jumping up and down to the beat, students waved blue and red glow sticks through the air while DJ FLiP played remixes of Martin Garrix, Tove Lo, and even Green Day.
Stirring up the crowd and occasionally demonstrating his knack for freestyle, the Master of Ceremonies, Passionate MC, kept the students in high spirits throughout the entire performance, bouncing around on stage along with three Back2Life members dressed as a robot, a panda, and a rabbit.
At one point, Passionate MC shouted, “Give it up for the rabbit!” The rabbit started dancing, and the crowd had never been louder.
“It’s all about reading their energy and body language,” Passionate MC explains after the show when asked how he performs at his gigs. “I could show up at a country event and get them all riled up!”
Originating from Cranston, Rhode Island, Passionate MC normally does hip-hop venues, with experience in both indoor and outdoor settings, but he had worked alongside DJ FLiP before and was consequently invited to MC at this particular event.
Although he has been a Master of Ceremonies for nearly eight years now, Passionate MC says that the Back2Life dance at UMass Dartmouth was the first time he has performed at an event of this type. However, despite his newness to the situation, Passionate MC owned the stage that night and the crowd was loving it.
“I wish I was out there instead of here,” says freshman Vanessa Nelson, a Psychology major who was part of the programming team hosting the Back2Life event. Nelson’s job was to make sure students swiped in at the front desk, and only halfway through the night, she had already recorded hundreds of students in attendance.
However, according to Passionate MC, the students were the best part of the night. “It’s the energy,” he says. “They’re so happy, having a good time. I would put the music second because the music is what’s unifying. It’s a cohesiveness that brings us all together, but at the end of the day you’ve got to have people show up.”
When the dance started winding down, DJ FLiP and Passionate MC surprised the large crowd with one last song: the classic “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.
The students lit up their phones and waved them in the air along to the beat, laughing at the song choice before simultaneously launching into the lyrics that nearly everyone knew by heart.
After the show had officially ended, students clamored over to the DJ and MC for the opportunity to take a selfie with the Back2Life duo, but the possibility remains that perhaps one day these same performers will grace the campus with their presence once again.
“I would definitely come back,” Passionate MC states. “Shows like this are essentially a dying art form. Everybody’s so hooked on technology these days that people are more concerned about posting life than living it. I think it’s important to have these experiences to create memories because, twenty years from now, what are you gonna have? A tweet? An Instagram pic? Those can never bring back the feelings you lived.”
Although the Back2Life venue at UMass Dartmouth has come to a close, the Animals Tour is planned to continue. They can be followed on Twitter @back2lifeevents, on their Facebook page, or on their website.