Despite members being afflicted by illness and horrific physical injuries, A Different Drum’s spring show will have you jumpin’ an ’a-jivin’ in your seats. With the number of injuries inflicted upon the lovely performers (including Michelle Coquelin ’10, who popped her knee at Wednesday night’s dress rehearsal) now at five, it is surprising there even is a show to go on with. But go on it certainly does.
With smiles that don’t betray recent events and outstanding shows of physicality, ADD manages to be at once fun and bedazzling. Entitled “Pants off/Dance off,” the show focuses on pairs of magic trousers that, when put on, cause the dancers to fall into all sorts of exciting dances (including a highly amusing “Cotton Eye Joe” performed by Kimberly Bloom-Feshbach ’09 and a truly fantastic tap piece by Rebecca Schwartz ’08).
The highlight of the show is the last dance of the first act, “Pay No Attention,” guest choreographed by Jessica Nicoll. Dancers appear and disappear from behind propped-up mats in a starkly lit surrounding. The neon extravagance of the costumes contrasts with the black of the mats and the white of the backdrop, and leaping and cavorting figures extend arms, legs and heads at intervals from their hiding places. The piece is just what ADD stands for: frivolity with a genuine creative element — here, the dancers really shine in their respective outfits (which are crosses between ’80s camp and futuristic mermaids).
Another piece that takes advantage of the dancers’ quirkiness is “Razzle Dazzle.” Frollicking to that show-biz classic, the dance uses Marshall Pailet ’09 as a paragon of awkwardness as he tries, in a manner that is hilariously haphazard, to “dazzle” his fellow dancers with hat tricks and other black magic. Pailet’s humor is apparent throughout the performance; wry and self-conscious, it will keep even the most stressed of audiences amused.
Bloom-Feshbach’s piece, “Strings,” is also of note. In it, a more classical style is manifest as Zena Bibler ’08 moves around the stage with grace and serenity. The piece has a remarkably calming effect and is definitely, from a technical standpoint, one of the most fulfilling pieces in the performance.
Another calm dance is Lisa Sun’s ’10 “Transparent Absence,” in which dancers move like prehistoric snakes, gesturing upwards in a motion that is almost pagan. The motion and music combine in a manner almost liquid in its elegance.
It is difficult to articulate in words the impressiveness of the dancers’ movements and timing. Each dance, choreographed by a different member of the company, shifts from the synchronized to the outstanding and the variety of rolls, spins and sheer acrobatic talent will keep an audience on its toes way after the show has ended.
The lighting is particularly impressive. ADD manages to enliven an otherwise simple plain backdrop set with a variety of color changes, shadows, spotlights and dappling effects extraordinarily. Lighting designer Gabrielle Karol ’11 must be applauded for her heroic management of this difficult task with the absolute precision and perfectionism that one normally only finds in professional productions.
It is said that a good dance show makes you want to dance, and this is just what this show will do even days after you’ve seen it. Whether it is a groovy hip-hop number or a more classical piece, the ADD troupe takes to it with a sense of fun that really engages the audience. Just look at Camila Garcia’s ’10 funky glasses in the last number. ADD president Anna Goddu ’09 affirmed that this sense of fun came from the nature of the way the show was planned.
“It’s just really exciting to see people choreograph their own stuff and learn from that experience,” she said.
A great way to spend an hour and a half this weekend is enjoying the swirling figures in the OBT. The aesthetic appeal certainly eclipses any lack of a political or moral message. Who needs that anyway when a show’s this fun?