They are just as sexy as that girl you grinded up on last Saturday at Toad’s. They are just as talented as the emaciated “Nutcracker” ballerinas of your childhood. And in their fall show, the Yaledancers combine hip modern moves and extensive classical training for an eye-opening experience.
From the first strains of “Six Underground” with its hip-hop beat, acoustic guitar and pop vocals, it is clear that this will be a deliciously eclectic performance. The unorthodox music and choreography of this first song set the tone for the rest of the entertaining, multi-genre show.
[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”956″ ]
The two-act show is a series of 20 pieces with music by artists ranging from John Mayer to Mozart. Group numbers are broken up by solo and duet movements, which showcase the impressive individual talent of several performers and provide an opportunity for the audience to see a diversity of styles of dance. Especially memorable are the elastic silhouette of Wen-Chuan Dai ’09 curving superhumanly to the Chinese song “Red Apricot Blossom” and the old-school charm of a tap dancing Sam Gottstein ’10 to “Me and Mrs. Jones.” The impassioned thigh-slapping and chair-straddling of Steph Rosenthal ’10 (back off, Britney) in “It’s About Time” captivates the audience and leads them into the penultimate movement, a visually stunning and sexually charged “Temptation.”
Besides the dancing itself, student talent is evident in the lighting, costuming and choreography of the show. The ECA Theater at 55 Audubon St. simultaneously provides the artists with ample space to work and the audience with a feeling of intimacy. The bare-black stage and colorful background lighting create a dramatic setting without distracting of the stars of the show. Draped orange fabric in “Sertao: After the Drought” is about as complicated as it gets on the costuming front, which is a good thing. The focus is on the performers’ bodies — athletic, controlled, artistic — and the outfits serve to accentuate this.
The structure of the performance, a diverse sequence with different styles of dance and genres of music, is perfect for the average Yalie with limited knowledge of the medium. The Yaledancers do not ask their audience to commit to an uninterrupted three-hour classical performance, but rather present a potpourri of different options to choose from. If one song, dancer or set of choreography does not tickle your fancy, just sit tight: It will be over in two to six minutes. Transitions between the movements are surprisingly smooth: The talent and creativity of the dancers allow us to follow them from ballet to jazz to break dancing without getting too lost. By the second act, the audience trusts the performers enough to take a break from the upbeat numbers and appreciate more solemn emotional pieces such as the beautiful “This Woman’s Work,” a group piece choreographed by Jay Frisby ’09.
Whether you are a dancer yourself or just an uncoordinated wallflower, the Yaledancer’s fall show is a fun and inspiring exhibition of Yalie talent. Plus, it only runs an hour and 45 minutes, leaving plenty of time to change into your leotard and show off some of those new moves at Toad’s.