If variety is, as they say, the spice of life, be prepared for a flavorful experience at the Yaledancers’ Spring Show. These muses of the dance floor mesmerize viewers with masterful choreography, fluid motion and sprightly music. Yaledancers, the oldest Yale dance organization dating back to 1973, has challenged the traditional concept of a dance recital. No longer will you think of parents jamming into auditoriums armed with camcorders and huge bouquets of flowers to see their little princes and princesses trounce across the stage. Yaledancers have made their performance into a sleek, hip, high-energy experience.
The Spring Show, about an hour and 40 minutes, is composed of 25 dances and a diverse playlist. Add the high-tech lighting effects, and you’ve entered a vogue world unbeknownst even to you. The dances, in either solo or group arrangements spanning from classical ballet to hip-hop-inspired modern dance, exemplify the comprehensive range of styles by the Yaledancers. Notable among the acts are Wen-Chuan Dai’s ’08 liquid, pliant movement and deft command of the stage to Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin’s “Grace,” an in sync, interpretive group dance of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” in which the dancers embody every feeling of loneliness and anguish, and a surreal group dance to the trip-hop “Only You” by Portishead. The music selection also includes Yael Naim, Moby, Cat Power, Brahms and, of course, Britney Spears.
This student-run production is a domesticated beast. It runs smoothly, but has a deep-seeded power and intensity that will amaze you. The noticeably bare stage places emphasis on the captivating light show, illuminating the dancers in an otherworldly glow. The intricate student choreography is balanced by the simplicity and uniformity of the costumes. Black leggings and simple dresses are on the menu for the evening, allowing the dancers to gallivant across the stage and silhouette their limber forms.
The dancers, who have been preparing for this performance since January, are adept at assuming the emotions of the song in their motions and bodies, so you are bombarded not only audibly by the feeling of the song, but also visually. In the group collaborations, the dancers each have a certain degree of autonomy to exhibit their own style and personality. By the end of the performance, you feel as if you know each dancer’s quirks and characteristics.
The Spring Show holds something for everyone. For those of you who still tightly hold that childhood love for poofy tutus and crisp, white tights, don’t worry; this eclectic performance includes a few of those acts. A visit from “Esmeralda” is in order for the night too, as she agilely jumps around the stage, beating her tambourine lightly on her heel and enchanting the crowd. And be prepared for a grandiose finale that’ll make you want to jump and jive a little.
Not only will you leave the theater marveling at the dexterity of the human body and beauty of motion, you will have a new playlist to shop for once you get home.