YaleDancers Makes You Wanna

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// Maria Zepeda

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be a dancer? From the ballerina figurines in music boxes to the hit documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom,” society’s collective admiration for dance is far-reaching, and we are in lifelong awe of those people, the dancers, who are able to live and breathe the essence of the art. We put dancers on a pedestal as beacons of the kind of creativity and grace to which we, as normal people, can only aspire

In their fall show, held at the ACES Educational Center for the Arts theater at 55 Audubon St. this Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., YaleDancers certainly surpass this lofty expectation. The choreography was nothing short of inspired. The lighting (the use of spotlights in one piece was particularly divine), the costumes, and the music were all expertly coordinated, accenting the quality of the dance well. It is hard to believe that the show was put together entirely by students, from music selection to choreography to dancing, over the course of just one semester amidst the juggling of full course loads.

The performance began with an avant-garde piece entitled “Throw it Down,” choreographed by Laura Bass ’15 to Kimberly Cole’s “U Make Me Wanna.” With the dancers clad in red and black costumes, the show opened with a sassy bounce. The highlights of the first act, though, were the concert’s duets. Molly Gibbons’s ‘14 romantic piece “Delineate,” offered an elegantly agile respite, and Gracie White ’16 and Christian Probst’s ’16 performance to Eva Cassidy’s “Fields of Gold,” was just as much a demonstration of creative genius as it was a gymnastic masterpiece: White spent the majority of the performance showcasing her flexibility and acrobatic skills.

Theresa Oei’s ’15 “Irish Beats,” a tap dance to Anna Kendrick’s “Cups,” did justice to the song’s fame through Oei’s accurate turns and perfect alignment with the fast-paced rhythm. (The piece was made complete, of course, by her bejeweled tap shoes.) Next came a sequence of four themed dances, all set to Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker”: “Spanish,” which paired an unpredictable flare with ballet, “Chinese,” a fan dance en pointe, “Arabian,” the marriage of classical dance with linen pants and a cropped top, and “Russian,” a more traditional, but still unique, interpretation of the ballet classic.

The second act even surpassed the first in wow factor, opening to “Bye, Bye,” choreographed by Probst and set to a spunky cover of “Blackbird.” (Spoiler alert: If you think jazz hats play too diminutive a role in 21st century fashion, this is the performance you’ve been waiting for.) Following came “Schizophrenia,” a piece choreographed by Laura Fridman ’15 to Edit’s “Ants.” “Schizophrenia” was chaotic in its use of sharp and seemingly sporadic movements, a refreshing contrast to the elegance and fluidity of the first act.

The show came to a close with an interlude by White — she’s dancing inside of a metal hoola hoop 10 feet in the air, need I say more? — and a bold, energetic full-company piece entitled “The Only Way To Live It,” choreographed by Bass and Jane Fisher ’14.

But it was not only the dancers’ boneless maneuvers or the professional-caliber choreography that makes this concert so outstanding. The show seems itself to be an exploration of dance, illustrating the classical and the modern, the geometric and the gracefully smooth, the acrobatic and the athletic. But while the pieces do seem to draw from this variety of dance-related connections, there is a symmetry to each piece, and to the show overall, that does not make this broad exploration overwhelming or distracting. It is this kind of creativity and precision of design that puts the show over the top. Ultimately, an experience much worth the trek to 55 Audubon St.

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