With the hint of sunshine in the air, even the most activity-phobic Yalie is venturing outside and worshipping the outdoors. A Different Drum’s spring performance is a nod to this attitude of joyous exuberance, as students end classes and explore worlds outside the classroom. The group’s talented dancers and commitment to showcasing diverse types of dance make for an evening of varied and interesting performance. With dances to Train, salsa, Elvis Costello and Bach, one never knows what to expect. And perhaps that is what makes the unexpected intricacy all the more absorbing.
A standout number is a piece choreographed by Kate Heinzelman ’04 entitled “Euridice’s Echo.” With elements of performance art, the piece radiates a theatrical feeling. Characters emerge and a story is told with the sensitive use of music and movement, raising the performance to a new level of awareness. The five women and one man are at once both caricatures and people, alternating between doll-like personas and empathetic beings. Pushing and pulling between joy and sadness, desperation and triumph, the piece is a revealing portrait of an age-old struggle for self-actualization. This type of experimentation with method is what makes A Different Drum different from other Yale dance groups, and also the reason that makes attending their performances seem like cultural experiences.
The flow and organization of the show is a plus, making sure that the audience is never assaulted with one tempo or type of dance for two long. Subtle lighting, flowing costumes and the occasional flamboyant make-up touch add a sense of sophistication to the performance, but there are enough popular culture references to keep the usual depreciators interested.
One notable use of a popular song is a dance number to Dispatch’s “The General,” choreographed by Amani Starns. A humorous enactment of camouflaged antics that belies complex dance moves, Starns makes a wry comment on the current political situation. When the dancers dressed as soldiers leave the stage looking dazed and confused, one can’t help but wonder how much of the dance was inspired by real life events. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase art imitating life.
Overall, ADD’s use of music stands out because it is more than background filler. The dancers and choreographers enact, interact and ultimately embody the music they perform to. The modern “In Transit,” choreographed by Anya Brickman Raredon and Ben Evans, is a lyrical interpretation of a train station that resonates with a hip attitude. Using props and an ambiguous soundtrack, the piece weaves performance and reality nicely. “Quartet,” choreographed by Molly Lewis is a snappy and sinewy take on chair dancing with the use of Bach’s “Unaccompanied Cello Suites.” The classical music fits perfectly with the rapid fire movement.
With each number, the dancers manage to convey a different setting, feeling and perspective. The pieces all seem to stand on their own, unique performances in their own right. A Different Drum truly seems to follow its own beat, to a very successful conclusion.
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