During the intermission at Wednesday’s dress rehearsal for their Fall Show, the 21 Yaledancers trickle out from backstage wearing sweatshirts and leg warmers. They sit in hyper-extended center splits or trace their toes along the ground in a quick rond de jambe as they reflect on the pieces in the first act.
“Your choreography is so organic,” one dancer offers Julianna Bentes LAW ’09, the choreographer of “Paean,” as she leads into a thoughtful critique of the piece.
“I really believe in breathing together,” says another. “But I don’t think it’s quite there yet.”
Though Yaledancers is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, these are conversations likely heard at any YD rehearsal. The ensemble is entirely student-run, and performances feature all student choreography, so organic movement and togetherness have remained essential parts of the group since its inception.
This semester’s show features a collection of mostly modern and lyrical numbers that showcase the dancers’ aesthetic sensibilities. The performance marks the culmination of a semester’s worth of work, which for these dancers means not only learning choreography but also selecting music and costumes and designing a lighting scheme to complete their pieces. Every dance is very much a holistic presentation of the choreographer’s art.
“Mirame,” choreographed by Nate Freeman LAW ’11, is a heated and tense pas de deux performed by Charlotte Clune ’11 and Kelvin Vu ’11. The dancers maintain a friction between them as their bodies alternately meld into forms and repel each other. Clune and Vu flawlessly execute Freeman’s tight choreography; their lines are clear and their focus direct. And the sharp strings of Clint Mansell and the Kronos Quartet’s “Requiem for a Dream” advances the tension within the choreography.
But of all the dances in the show, the solo interludes woven throughout prove what the dancers of YD are capable of, offering a chance for each dancer to share his or her own technical training without the fuss of costumes, formations or heavy lighting schemes. In “Human,” performed on pointe by Zara Kessler ’12, a developpe and delicate pirouette in attitude are elegant bookends. YD President Sam Gottstein ’10 swaggers through his tap number, and Steph Rosenthal ’10 nails the modern jazz “Fly Me to the Moon.” Finally, Gabrielle Karol’s ’11 piece brings a refreshing sense of humor to the program. They are all natural dancers, and the simplicity of each interlude allows the movement itself to radiate.
The Fall Show closes with Fosse, a restaging of “Bye Bye Blackbird,” for which he won an Emmy in 1973, the same year Yaledancers was born. As stated in the program, the performance is “in celebration of the continuity that dance brings to our lives,” and even in this extravagant spectacle, Yaledancers still breathe together.
The Fall Show is located at the ECA Theater at 55 Audobon (the corner of Whitney and Audobon). Remaining show times are tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. Student tickets are $5 in advance, $6 at the door.