YaleDancers show fuses different dance styles

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Photo by Sara Miller.

The YaleDancers spring show will fuse different styles of dance in bold, experimental choreography.

The dance company’s new performance premiers on Wednesday in the Educational Center for the Arts. Co-President Jane Fisher ’14 said the group is excited to break new artistic ground with the show, and co-President Laura Bass ’15 highlighted the dancers’ attempt to showcase a variety of dance genres on the stage. Whereas in previous years, Bass said, pieces have occasionally “morphed into the same style of dance,” this semester’s offerings are not only wide-ranging, but also striking in their dynamic fusion of styles, ranging from hip-hop to ballet.

“I think it’s important to take each piece as it comes,” said Molly Gibbons ’14. “It’s like chapters of a book. If taken all together, [the pieces] become difficult to navigate … I would encourage audience members to take a deep breath with each blackout and clear their minds for the next piece.”

One duet performed en pointe set to rap music. Another piece, choreographed by Karlanna Lewis SOM/LAW ’15, is a solo in which she performs an original rap while dancing. An energetic hip-hop piece by Natalia Khosla ’14 incorporates elements of jazz and classical Indian dance. In another piece, a trio choreographed by Fisher and Gracie White ’16, the dancers never leave the floor — an experiment in “trying to tell a story without getting off the ground,” White said.

White, who will contribute an aerial silks piece, said she thinks the spring show includes the widest range of dance styles of any performance in the company’s recent history. White, who is trained as a circus performer, noted that she is excited to share her art with an audience after “countless meetings” with University representatives that assess the risks of campus performances. Gibbons added that she thinks the group’s efforts have paid off, describing White’s piece as “breathtaking.”

In addition to the performance’s stylistic diversity, dancers emphasized the show’s bold choreographic choices. Gibbons explained that the opportunity to choreograph a new piece each semester fosters artistic experimentation.

“I think everyone took a step back and thought about what they wanted to put forward,” said Gibbons, whose piece involves a video projection. “My favorite part of YD is you get a clean slate every semester in terms of choreography, so why not use projections?”

Theresa Oei ’15 explained that in contrast to many other dance groups, YD does not build shows around a theme. By not having its shows conform to the structure of a particular theme, she said, YD’s shows allow the dancers’ creativity to come to life.

Ajua Duker ’15 noted that despite the ephemeral nature of dance, it requires great creativity and skill on the part of the choreographer.

“Audience members should look for the intricacies in the movement,” Duker explained. “Choreography is so thoughtful … especially at a Yale show, thinking critically about the choices choreographers make can help [the audience] appreciate the pieces even more.”

Performances will take place on April 9th, 11th and 12th.

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