Galumpha Graces SUNY New Paltz at McKenna Theatre

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Audience members in the McKenna Theatre were swept away by a uniquely named, intricate movement performance on Saturday, May 6. The performance titled “Galumpha” is a distinctly different type of dance show that incorporates acrobatics, stunning balancing acts and physical comedy. While maintaining a refreshing light-heartedness, the three performers dazzled the audience with fascinating choreography and unexpected feats.

 Galumpha was founded in 2002 by Andy Horowitz and Greg O’Brien. The three performers in this rendition were Andy Horowitz, Gil Young Choi and BriAnna Barnett, and the group performed 12 dance numbers. 

 “I loved it. This is about the third time I’ve seen them because I used to work for Unison and now I took my grandson,” said audience member Joanne Talutto. “I think it’s always really good, they are so acrobatic and also so strong. It was just wonderful.”

 The name comes from the word “galumph,” which was coined by Lewis Carroll and has been to defined to mean “to walk with a heavy, clumsy gait” and “to expend more energy than necessary to accomplish a given task.”

 Horowitz and his fellow creators decided to take this fun word and transform into something of their own. “We added an ‘A’ to the end of ‘galumph,’ in our minds turning a verb into a noun,” he said.

 The May 6 performance was a benefit for the Unison Arts Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching cultural life and community in the Mid-Hudson Valley by making fine and performing arts available to all. 

 “​Under the​ ​auspices​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Unison​ ​Arts​ ​and​ ​Learning​ ​Center,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​performed three​ ​times​ ​at​ ​the​ ​McKenna​ ​and​ ​once​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Studley,” Horowitz said. “​​It​ ​was​ ​my​ ​extreme​ ​pleasure​ ​to perform​ ​as​ ​a​ ​benefit​ ​for​ ​Unison,​ ​an​ ​organization​ ​Galumpha​ ​is​ ​delighted​ ​to support.”

 The show began at 7:30 p.m., and the audience was filled with people of all ages. The house lights went out and lights rose up on the stage, where the three performers stood in the center. 

 The music played, and they began their ballet-esque choreography, infused with pirouettes, jumps, rolls and acrobatic balancing feats that shocked and astounded the audience. 

 Some numbers were silent, some contained spoken word and some songs had music and lyrics. They had multiple clever costumes as well, such as velcro hats with velcro balls attached, pants that unzipped at the leg to reveal a colorful fabric inside, and pans on their backsides that they could kick to make sound during the show.

 “I think it’s so cool to see these young people take on these different roles,” said audience member Teal Greenberg. “There was so much laughter in the theatre.”

 Throughout each number the audience was introduced to fresh, creative and new pieces and physical acts of wonder that left them ooh-ing and aah-ing until the finale, where the audience provided a standing ovation.