Instead of getting down at Woad’s this week, I decided to find out where the Yalies who actually can dance hang out. Little did I know that my search would take me to a place where I was obviously the worst dancer in the room — the dress rehearsal for the Yaledancers’ fall show.
You know that you will have a good time when the first thing you hear is Queen Bey’s “Partition” blaring through the theater’s sound system. I wanted to get up and dance in the complete darkness. However, I exercised self-control and waited expectantly for the first dance to begin. The evening unfolded with a diverse, enthralling collection of choreographies. From jazzy numbers and Broadway pieces to hip-hop and more contemporary works, there is certainly something for everyone at the Yaledancers show. The group is uniformly talented. And what is more fun than watching that kid in your section nail a midair split?
The Yaledancers slay a wide variety of styles. Group dances are interspersed with solo pieces; ballet is immediately followed by hard-hitting hip-hop moves. Each dance conveys a specific emotion, and the performers demonstrate that one can inspire and uplift others simply through the art of movement.
There were many highlights from the evening. The first act ends with a solo acrobatic performance, “New Heights,” by Gracie White ’16, who hangs from a huge hoop suspended from the ceiling. In contrast, the second act begins with a modern, more experimental ensemble performance entitled “Tentatively.” Choreographed by Laura Wilson, visiting from the California-based dance company The Assembly Dance, this unique number — along with its accompanying futuristic, science-fiction-inspired music — is striking. My favorite part of the evening occurred during this dance, when the performers rolled themselves together into a cinnamon roll-esque hug.
Another standout is White’s “The Room is Too Quiet,” a warriorlike group dance full of high kicks and powerful leaps. “Steam Heat,” restaged by Rebecca Brudner ’16, is surprising: the dancers sing throughout a comedic — and seemingly exhausting — Broadway performance.
Almost every piece includes some sort of dazzling, intricate maneuver. Complicated lifts, perfectly rotated spins and energetic synchronized choreography are the norm for Yaledancers. I guarantee that audiences will question their own health and fitness levels. I did. Why can I barely touch my toes? Why do I have trouble lifting up my own backpack or pushing the doors at Commons open? Why do I need complete darkness to confidently dance? The sole risk of going to a performance with such talented dancers, frankly, is the chance that you will cry alone in your room afterwards. You will never be as flexible, strong and skilled at dance as your peers.
In the end, the Yaledancers’ many seamless changes of direction and variety of styles ensure that no viewer will leave unsatisfied. The dances are not only executed well, but are emotive and entertaining as well. Yaledancers provide motivation to work on your own dance moves, because we sometimes forget that dancing is more than bumping and grinding on the Toad’s dance floor.