To the beat of Different Drums

When A Different Drum’s dance show, “Criminal Moves,” starts off to six dancers capering across the stage in sweet summer dresses to Ingrid Michaelson’s “You and I,” you know you’re in for a nice deal.

The dancers smile while the backdrop varies within the color spectrum of a tequila sunrise, and Ingrid sings, “Maybe I think you’re cute and funny.” This is not to say that the opening performance is too sugar sweet. It’s beautiful and fresh: a perfect introduction beckoning the audience into a lovely spring show.

“Criminal Moves” features the 21 members of the Different Drum Dance Co., 16 of whom choreograph for the show’s 20 different dance pieces (as well as several comical interludes that fit the show’s “criminal” theme). The pieces themselves are very diverse, drawing from a variety of dance genres accompanied by music ranging from Lady Gaga to Yo-Yo Ma, and even including the sounds of “Amazon Rain Forest” by Nature Whispers. Many performances are fun, while others are provocative and some are even haunting.

One such piece was Sara Protasi’s GRD ’14 “Without Feathers,” a title that references Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope is the thing with feathers.” The piece plays off the dynamic between a lover that is lovingly open and highly dependent and another that is closed and detached. The piece portrays this struggle penetratingly. It is particularly strong because it is danced to no music. At some point, one of the dancers begins to stomp, and her footsteps are the only sound that resonates throughout the theatre.

“Without Feathers” is followed by a piercing performance choreographed by Derek DiMartini ’13. Titled “Where is the Line?” and accompanied by Bjork’s song by the same name, this piece is the most impressive work featured in ADD’s spring 2010 show — particularly considering DiMartini’s freshman status. Cathy Chamberlin ’12 brings a great deal of emotion and expression to her central role as the piece’s victim. The dance is full of violence and tension, leaving audience members feeling ill at ease in their inactive roles as viewers.

There were many other highlights to be had on a lighter note. The senior piece, “Union in the Dark,” was very cool, quickening the pace of the show after the intermission as the dancers danced in very cool black and gold outfits to an equally cool song by Sam Sparro. Laurel Hunt’s ’11 solo performance to Lady Gaga’s “Disco Heaven” will leave many itching to take their own fancy footwork over to a disco, preferably with Laurel in tow.

As Susan Steinman ’10 walked slowly across the stage on the very tip of her toes over the course of several minutes in “Stepping Out,” the incredible skill involved in dancing was apparent.

My one complaint regarding “Criminal Minds” would be that, overall, the attempts at humor did very little for me and I felt that the show could have been stronger without most of the interludes. Granted, these are a nice way to vary the acts up a bit and keep audience members alert, but I would have preferred to see more that involved actual dancing and espionage-themed music, along the lines of “The Jewel Heist” and “The Plotting Politician,” as opposed to the mime-esque skits that did not tie in to the rest of the show.

This one minor setback aside, the show put on by the ADD dance crew is truly impressive and definitely worth a watch. The members are very talented, both in technique and creativity, and most likely worth your time and $5.

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