The lights are dimmed, the glittering eye masks are on, the stage is set, and so begins Orchesis’ spring performance, DumbledOrchesis.
The show, which took place in Roone Arledge Auditorium this weekend, swallowed the audience whole in a mesmerizing world of dance.
Choreographer Kyley Knoerzer’s, BC ’13, opening number, “Iris,” set things up nicely, establishing a mystic and whimsical aura as Tina Miller’s soulful rendition of the Goo Goo Dolls song swayed the dancers around. The song and the graceful flips, pirouettes, and leaps of the dancers swirled together, seamlessly merging into one. For the finish of this performance, the dancers stepped forward slowly, each pulling their masks off, pulling the audience in.
The next number, set to Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” and choreographed by Efe Kakpovbia, CC ’14, was one of heart-pounding grit and sultriness. The red light burned down, with a heat that drove its way through to the audience. As the song spiraled into a craze, the dancers were elevated upward, eventually forming a human staircase upon which one of them ascended.
Occasionally, the performances featured a snappy breeze of the short and sweet, with interludes that stringed the magic together. The title interlude, set to the chimes of John Williams’ “Harry’s Wondrous World,” however, was a little lackluster. The dancers pranced around in classic ballet form, springy and full of pliés. While staying true to a rigid traditional form is acceptable, the title piece should have showcased more of the creativity that was on display in other pieces.
One such performance that had no dearth of creativity was choreographer Liana Gergely’s, BC ’14, “oh how time is passing, my dear.” Mechanical movements based on the strategic positioning of each dancer deliberately mimicked clocks but were still filled with emotion. Amid the multitude of black and white costumes etched with checkers, polka dots, stripes, there shimmered something so utterly correct. It was rigid and ravishing and soft and soothing all at the same time, tucked in with a flurry of fitting pirouettes.
Halfway through the performance, however, things got a little bland with a jumble of abstract modern dance pieces that faded into one another. Perhaps it would have been better to scatter the more contemplative compositions evenly instead of lumping them together into monotony, culminating in the delightfully flavorless piece choreographed by Hannah Zilka, BC ’13, “Nostalgic Wanderings.” Starting out strong with a game of light, the interpretive movements done in silence drew attention to the sheer art of the form, but the awkward and sudden intervals of music detracted too much from the performance.
Luckily, this streak of monotony was interrupted by one of the most powerful pieces of the show, “Something I Left.” Set to Beyoncé’s soulful ballad “I Was Here” and choreographed by Dan Pahl, CC ’14, the dance moves were executed with a sharp precision that cut open a vein of emotional depth, proving that the inspirational and modern dance could be captivate the audience and give them goosebumps. Every element about this piece was dazzling, from the dancers’ strength to the costumes’ earthy tones that accentuated its modern style. The dance seemed to take a life of its own and managed to raise the entire show to a new level.
Other gems punctuated the show, such as choreographer Amanda Takiguchi’s, CC ’14, slick and energized “Equinox,” which turned up the heat in the room by ten degrees, with its dubstep soundtrack. “Together Human,” from choreographer Tessa Thwaites, CC ’16, was also one of the strongest pieces, towering over the other performances due to the interactions between each dancer. This was a piece that showed that the connectivity between the dancers is paramount, as performers complete impressive leaps into each other’s arms. Smita Sen’s, CC ’16, choice to set the dance she choreographed to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” brought the energy up, and used the popular track—hinting at Saturday’s Bacchanal headliner—to its full potential.
DumbledOrchesis is a medley of strong performances, but not every number lives up to the magic.