The dancers of A Different Drum are known for their diversity of style and technique, and their fall performance “Dance/Speak” stays true to this reputation. Alternating between fluid form and sharp, crisp gestures, ADD shows off an originality of movement that strikes the same chord as the emotion of the selected music. Through diverse dances broken by spoken-word interludes, “Dance/Speak” perfectly reflects the dancers’ ability to bring a powerful voice to movement.
Yet “Dance/Speak” does not achieve its full artistic potential until the latter part of the show. The performance opens with a performance titled “… Nasty, Brutish and Short,” which is lacking in energy and originality despite being set to the lively sounds of The Hives. With dynamic choreography and spurts of rock-and-roll vigor, the dance has the potential to be a bold, fun opening number, yet fails to impress with frequent synchronization errors.
Fortunately, the unimpressive opening does not set the stage for the remainder of the show. “Dance/Speak” picks up speed and sass with the second act, set to the sultry sounds of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” Despite a few discrepancies in the timing of their movements, the dancers prove their potential for moving performance as they exude the same playful sexiness as the song’s slow, jazzy tempo.
“Dance/Speak” proves its diversity with indie-inspired dances of pure joy that deviate from numbers with weighty themes and profound movement. In a dance titled “Evites and Jello Shots,” dancers let loose to the upbeat sounds of The Strokes’ “Last Night.” In this performance, the dancers draw their audience in with the familiar theme of carefree revelry, shown through the unlikely mediums of ballet and jazz. Similarly, the dancers lighten the mood with a fun performance paralleling Wilco’s lighthearted song “I’m a Wheel,” allowing the dance to speak for itself through fun choreography and cheerful energy.
The show truly begins to live up to its theme as the dancers speak through movement with a stunning dance to Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose.” Rising above the previous performances, the emotional and sweetly elegant choreography of Meaghan Lafferty ’07, coupled with the dancers’ flowing silk shirts, echoes the subtle beauty of the music. This dance proves the ideas behind the show’s theme, revealing the magic that results when dance perfectly parallels the emotion of song.
ADD’s most striking performance, “Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down,” plays off the themes of suffering and sympathy. In this piece, movement becomes the dancers’ medium of speech. The dance, choreographed by Gabriella Pinto ’07, follows the process of strife, violence and understanding as the dancers convey poignant emotion through powerful movement. Each dancer wears a different costume, representing the diversity of humanity and aiding the ultimate message of the dance: the existence of a uniting human force.
The most defining aspect of “Dance/Speak” is its diversity — perhaps best exemplified through inspiring interludes of speech accompanied by dance. In these interludes, the dancers speak famous quotes addressing aspects of dance. As Mick Jagger’s inspiration by a kung fu master is quoted, Zena Bibler ’08 mimics the dance-like precision of the martial arts. Similarly, Marshall Pailet ’09 shakes his entire body to Suzanne Farrell’s quote “As soon as I hear music, something in me starts to vibrate.”
The show culminates with three dances that flawlessly portray the unique ways in which ADD achieves diversity. A theme of femininity is strung between two delicately stunning ballet-themed sets and a dance titled “Identitee Feminine,” which celebrates the power of women. Although both dances “speak” of feminine prowess, they portray their message in unique ways: two through the beauty and grace of ballet, and one through sharp movement and quick choreography.
The thoughtful dances and unique, diverse choreography of “Dance/Speak” are enough to make viewers lose sight of technical errors and become absorbed in both the elegant form of ballet and the sassy playfulness of jazz. In “Dance/Speak,” the dancers of ADD prove their passion and ability to truly make dance talk.