Seductively, she struts across the dance floor to the beat of “Fever.” Her strappy, sparkly red dress along with her enticing movements demand the immediate attention of the audience. With her opening solo performance, Ali Ahn ’03 sets the tone for the rest of the YaleDancers Spring Show.
The group’s style integrates lyrical jazz, classical ballet and modern/contemporary influences in each dance, including the collaboration with Rhythmic Blue, one of Yale’s hip-hop dance groups. The musical combinations are similarly diverse, with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Presley, and Fiona Apple featured. In the first interlude, Michael Smith ’06, a member of the a capella group Shades, sings a slave spiritual while Kathy Baillie ’04 and Alex Jean ’03 bring his words to life through choreography infused with emotion. In the second interlude Brooke Lyons ’03 dances beautifully to Etta James’ soulful “At Last.” In the third, Alexis Carra ’03 gives her own rendition of “Right On Be Free,” inspired by choreographer Alvin Ailey who founded the internationally known dance company dedicated to the preservation of cultural expression. In addition to choreographing the three solo dances (originally performed at the YaleDancers Parents’ Weekend show “Mood Indigo”), Carra also choreographed this performance’s sultry finale, “All That Jazz” from Bob Fosse’s musical “Chicago.”
In the last segment of the first “act,” dancer and choreographer Julianna Bentes ’04 presents a socio-political commentary on the state of the First Amendment today. In light of the recent news of an alleged break-in into the suite of an anti-war activist and a hateful message posted on the door of the Afro-American Cultural Center, Bentes’ dance entitled, “An Exercise of Rights,” is a timely depiction of the necessity of taking action. In over ten minutes of choreography, dancers dressed in red, white and blue throw down chairs representative of social constraints and march into the audience. Meanwhile, the phrases, “the revolution will not be televised/it will put you in the driver’s seat/the revolution will be live” are reminders that reform is not a passive process.
Among the other dances in the show is “Flying this One,” a tribute to the late Sean Fenton ’04, a Davenport junior who died in January, which was choreographed by Ahn and Nicole Ries ’04. Anne Ackerman GRD/MD ’07 choreographed a dance entitled “Reflection/Possession/Release,” which tells a story of loss and grief but ends with the eventual triumph over sorrow.
The unique lighting and swift, smooth transitions from each song and dance to the next maintain the interest of the audience. This spring show is a blend of thought, emotion and action that will leave the viewer feeling as though they have learned something by simply sitting back and watching the creative talent onstage.