I recently had the honor of attending this year’s Spring Dance Concert on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m.
This semester’s recital featured a variety of bold pieces, ranging in levels of intensity from comical to intensely emotional, showcasing a refreshing variety of performances and stories told on the stage, with a total of eight during the afternoon.
Examples of bold performances during the recital included “By a Thread,” featuring a man and a woman dressed as children with balloons tied to each wrist. The performance was engaging, the awkward movements matching the mood set by the music. Overall, the performance was unusual and unique, and it worked well overall, except one of the dancers’ balloons broke off from its strand mid-roll during the piece. While the dancers continued their piece without even acknowledging its absence, it was still a little awkward to watch that silver star balloon lazily float above the curtains.
Another performance that brought a smile to my face was “Building a Better Mousetrap,” which featured rigorous tap-dance choreography. With the rather large number of people performing all at once, it impressed me how the performers managed to remain as in-sync as they did. The movements were lively, the rhythm memorable and energetic, and judging by the performers as they bowed to the applause, it was clear they enjoyed themselves as much as I did.
“Gotta Make a Dance” was a light-hearted piece showcasing the inner monologues of a dance choreographer trying to come up with a new dance routine, going through various methods of achieving inspiration. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of that moment, the moment when she finally finds the inspiration, when she falls into the crowd of back-up dancers. She surrenders herself to the inspiration, or she falls into it actively. Either interpretation was presented wonderfully.
There were also more serious performances throughout the recital. “Boundaries” was full of imagery and beautiful direction, and “Pause” was powerful and impactful, with its stunning representation of trying to fit in and being rejected by the very people you are trying to join. When she took action and broke her way through, I felt the shockwaves of her self-confidence just as the characters did. I thoroughly enjoyed “Pause.”
In a different direction, the second piece, “Variations on a Theme, Number 3,” confused me. There was no sound beyond the thuds of the dancers’ feet hitting the floor for the first minute of the piece, and while the movements of the dancers were fluid and appealing, it was difficult to gauge the emotional atmosphere of the piece until the soundtrack kicked in later in the performance. I left the piece uncertain what it was trying to tell me.
“Exhibit A” and “Master Maqui” were standard performances in comparison, but both brought a smile to my face, especially the latter’s energy in the movements and the dancers’ facial expression throughout the piece. The addition of both pieces was necessary in this recital, and I enjoyed the familiarity I found between these two pieces and the recitals I used to attend back in my middle school days.
The last performance of the afternoon, “Caribbean Tapestry” was a phenomenal of cultural dances and culture, and percussionist Yamil Conga brought such dances to life in vivid detail with his drums, seamlessly transitioning into the next segment of the montage without blinking. The dancers themselves also seemed to lose themselves in the rhythm and the energy, and before long, so did I.
Overall, I enjoyed the wide range of pieces performed throughout the recital. While some pieces went for bold and instead fell somewhat flat, there were enough positive experiences to counteract them or even overshadow them.
The diversity in this semester’s recital showed a boldness not normally expected in dance recitals, and I hope the dancers involved continue to test the limits of artistic expression in the future.