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About Boomshaka

Boomshaka is Northwestern University's premier drum, dance, and rhythm ensemble. Entirely student written, directed, and produced, Boomshaka has established a reputation for consistently delivering energetic and inspiring performances. We combine dance styles such as hip-hop and tap with various forms of percussion, using everything from sticks, poles, and buckets to our hands and feet. Our performers come from a variety of backgrounds and have a number of areas of artistic expertise, ranging from classical music composition and formal dance training to free style rapping and break dancing. We blend our unique talents and experiment with new mediums of expression to create a performance like none other!

Mission Statement

Boomshaka connects the worlds of dance, music, and percussion to form a unique performance ensemble driven by a love of rhythm. Whether performing at schools or staging impromptu shows on neighborhood streets, Boomshaka brings rhythm and energy to audiences across the country, inviting them to groove and find the beat that lies within us all.


In 1997, Northwestern University drumline member Josh Berner wrote a STOMP-inspired piece for Northwestern's annual student-written musical Waa-Mu. They used pots, pans, and food trays from the campus dining halls and named the piece "Saga Stomp," taking the name from Northwestern students' common term for the campus food service provider, Saga. "Saga Stomp" combined complex rhythms, energetic choreography, and Northwestern humor in one wild piece and ran as one of the major highlights of the show.

Fueled by the success of "Saga Stomp," Jade Smalls, fellow drumline member and "Saga Stomp" performer, joined Berner to start an independent performance troupe based on the same concepts. With financial help from Northwestern's student-run production company Wave Productions, they formed Boomshaka and by 1999 staged its first show as headliners, Sometimes You've Just Gotta Put Your Foot Down. Despite being held on the same weekend as Northwestern's notorious music festival Dillo Day, both of the back-to-back performances sold out.

The following winter, Boomshaka sold out all five performances of their second show Evolve, solidifying Boomshaka’s presence on campus as a premier performance ensemble. During Spring Break of 2000, Boomshaka established itself as a performance ensemble outside of the Northwestern community by touring the Northeast coast and performing in New York, Washington D.C. and Boston.

Having grown into a yearlong performance ensemble, Boomshaka separated from Wave Productions in 2001 and produced its third show, Be the Groove, as an independent production company at Northwestern. Since then, Boomshaka has grown into an accomplished and established ensemble, performing across Northwestern, Chicago, and the country.

Current Members: 2017-2018

Production Team

  • Aviv Delgadillo, Producer
  • Emma Meyerhoff, Producer
  • Eric Van Camp, Artistic Director
  • Alana Wertheimer, Artistic Director


  • Desiree Applewhite
  • Emily Coffee
  • Aviv Delgadillo
  • Jake Hullings
  • Julia Jacobs
  • Cailyn Johnson
  • Andy Jones
  • Allegra Kawles
  • Jalil Khoury
  • Abby Lammers
  • Emma Meyerhoff
  • Grant Pender
  • Rachel Traisman
  • Eric Van Camp
  • Alana Wertheimer

Current Show: Restore Chaos (2008)

Restore Chaos (2008)
Restore Chaos.jpg
Directed by Jeff Krauss, Genevieve Garcia, Harrison Ude
Produced by Jackie Laine
Written by Boomshaka
Show Dates May 15-17, 2008
Venue McCormick Auditorium

Director's Note

"Understandings that are derived at the border between chaos and order where, according to some, many of the problems of nature lie, may not provide exact solutions but rather those which can allow application and understanding to emerge." – Peter Coveney

For our tenth annual Spring show, Boomshaka invites you to walk the line between chaos and order. Tonight's pieces, rhythm, movement, sounds and visuals were all conceived and realized by a cast and production team all attempting to walk that same line. We have spent the last year creating a show that investigates the chaos that is inherent in everything we do, but also embodies those moments of clarity that can't be prevented from emerging: rhythms that converge, movement that aligns, or twenty minds and bodies that move towards the same goal.

So feel free to embrace the chaotic, but don't forget to stop and notice the moments when the chaos clicks to focus.

-J, GV, and Harrison

Production Team

  • Producer - Jackie Laine
  • Assistant Producers - Tom Roth, Naadia Owens
  • Directors - Jeff Krauss, Genevieve Garcia, Harrison Ude
  • Equipment Manager - Gabe Bitto
  • Lighting Designer - Jason Margolis
  • Scenic Designer - Rie Ma
  • Technical Director - Connor White
  • Costume Designer - Diana Theobald
  • Assistant Costume Designers - Michala Stock, Mary Nwosuocha
  • Sound Designer - Alex Sokolovsky
  • Stage Manager - Sarah Radov
  • Assistant Stage Manager - Jessica Saltiel
  • Graphic Artist - Jeff Krauss
  • Webmaster - Leslie Gittings
  • Videographers - Jen O'Leary, Katie Isaacson, Matt McKenna

Pieces and Piecewriters

  • Opener - Jeff Krauss, Genevieve Garcia, Harrison Ude, Alex Hersler, Nicole West, Tom Roth, Gabe Bitto
  • Da Heebs - Annie Kahane, Alex Hersler
  • What First - Annie Kahane
  • Silly Hats - Gabe Bitto
  • The Food - Harrison Ude
  • The Machine - Laura Merchut
  • J's iPod - Jeff Krauss
  • Sticky - Dashiell Oatman-Stanford
  • Step It - Emily Dolan
  • 2.lovers - Harrison Ude, Genevieve Garcia
  • Stone Ground 8 - Jin Lee
  • Evaporate - Gabe Bitto, Genevieve Garcia


  • It's Not A Rice Cooker, It's My Boom Box - Jessica Saltiel
  • Connect 4 - Alex Hersler, Lori Buchanan
  • No Man Is An Island - Alex Hersler
  • Snaps Transition - Reed Walker
  • Nerve - Blake McKay, Chika Nwosu
  • 18.9 - Tom Roth
  • ROCKSTAR!! - Nicole West, Jason Choi
  • Drywall - Tom Roth, Alex Hersler
  • 8!BIT - Jeff Krauss
  • Reminisce - Austin Walker
  • Senior Transition - Gabe Bitto, Alex Hersler, Laura Merchut, Tom Roth
  • Poles - Gabe Bitto, Alex Hersler
  • Closer - Jeff Krauss, Genevieve Garcia, Harrison Ude, Gabe Bitto, Tom Roth, Laura Merchut, Alex Hersler, Annie Kahane, Nicole West

Performances: 2007-2008

At Northwestern

  • Restore Chaos (McCormick Auditorium)
  • Music Inspires Health, featuring Ari Hest (Pick-Staiger)
  • NU Revue (McCormick Auditorium)
  • BLAST's Northwestern Dance Classic (Patten Gym)
  • NCDC's Arts Fest (Deering Field)
  • Dance Marathon (Louis Room)
  • Purple Haze: Too Much A Capella Makes the Baby Go Deaf (Jones Great Room)
  • Kaibigan's Fil-Anthropy (Ryan Auditorium)
  • Urban Students Empowered (McCormick Tribune Center)
  • Operation Smile Showcase (McCormick Auditorium)
  • Workshop (Jones Great Room)
  • Dance Summit Master Class (Ballroom)
  • NU Dance Summit (Ballroom)
  • Homecoming Entertainment Extravaganza (McCormick Auditorium)
  • Kemper Munchies
  • CCI Munchies
  • Jones Munchies
  • Kaleidoscope (Ryan Auditorium)
  • Freeform (Ryan Auditorium)
  • Allison Munchies
  • Elder Munchies

In the Community

  • Fairmont Hotel Performance (Chicago)
  • Highland Elementary School (Skokie)
  • Devonshire Elementary School (Skokie)
  • Jane Stenson Elementary School (Skokie)
  • Old Orchard Jr. High School (Skokie)
  • Prairieview Elementary School (Grayslake)
  • Park School (Skokie)
  • Elizabeth Meyer Schook (Skokie)
  • Dr. Bessie Rhodes Magnet School (Skokie)
  • North Shore Country Day School (Wilmette)

Current Tour: Atlanta, GA (2008)

Every year during Spring Break, Boomshaka goes on tour to spread our love of rhythm across the nation! We travel to a different state each year, performing and teaching workshops for local schools and in public venues such as Times Square in New York City and Union Square in San Francisco.

Tour Dates

Saturday March 22 - Sunday March 30, 2008


  • Weber High School (Atlanta)
  • Davis Elementary School (Marietta)
  • Dickerson Middle School (Marietta)
  • Belmont Hills Elementary School (Smyrna)
  • Mt. Paran Christian School (Kennesaw)
  • Trinity Elementary School (Atlanta)

Notable Accomplishments

  • Performed at a sold-out concert with Howard Levy of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and Chicago's own Latin-funk fusion blend Chevere (April 2002)
  • First-place winners in dance division at the Chicago Cultural Center's "C2: College x Culture Competition” (Oct. 2002)
  • Film debut in Studio 22 Major Grant The Chase (Jan. 2003)
  • Interview and performance on MTV's Total Request Live (March 2003)
  • Featured in performance with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (May 2003)
  • Recipient of the 2004 CIRA grant for This Is A Test (Dec. 2004)
  • Behind the Groove wins Northwestern's Outstanding Performing Arts Production award (May 2006)
  • Featured again in performance with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (May 2006)
  • Featured artist with Billy Siegenfeld's Jump Rhythm Jazz Project (June 2006)
  • Featured as the introduction to MTVu's Woodie Awards (oct. 2006)
  • Reactivity wins Northwestern's Outstanding Performing Arts Production award (May 2007)
  • Awarded 1st place in Northwestern's annual "Drag Show" sponsored by the Rainbow Alliance (March 2008)
  • Restore Chaos wins Northwestern's Outstanding Performing Arts Production award (May 2008)


External Links