The name of their show may catch you off guard at first: 2017 Space ADDyssey, A Different Drum’s fall show, is premiering this weekend.
Entirely student choreographed, the show consists of 14 separate dance pieces, broken up by 4 comedic interludes. This year, the group is exploring the trippy theme of space and its vast, infinite expanse. This is portrayed both in the dances themselves and explicitly in the comedic interludes, which employ props, projections and only the driest of extraterrestrial puns.
The dance pieces touch upon a variety of styles and feature many genres of music. Although each piece ties into the more general theme of space, some pieces involve a specific sharpness of movement, group dynamic or ethnic flare, all of which diversify the performance as a whole.
To begin the show, a pair of dancers stand on stage. Quickly, this turns into a quartet, all of whom are dressed in all-black leggings and tank tops. The music to which they dance has a windy characteristic, as if the dancers are in space, and both the movements and the music speed up throughout the number. Given the black costumes, the quick music and the circular movements, the number reflects constantly moving space.
This first piece commences a string of separate dances that reflect various definitions of space, such as the occasionally empty space of the mind, the space and lack thereof in relationships and other celestial interpretations. The pieces differ in both style and thematic interpretation, which reflect the different dance backgrounds and ideas incorporated by the individual student choreographers.
Furthermore, the music and sound effects also vary, from fast string pieces, to Miley Cyrus, to Alt-J, to contemporary hip-hop. However, all the sound follow certain general characteristics that add brilliantly to the space theme. Many of the songs and music pieces involve booming noises, echoes and layered background vocals. The fades and sound edits reverberate throughout the auditorium, forcing the audience into a trance, lost in the powerful yet beautiful sensory details — the sound, the lighting and the performance itself.
Audience members will not be able to fully appreciate the performance if they cannot enjoy the corny, dad-joke-esque, hysterical interludes between some of the dances. Without an intermission during the show, the company utilizes these jocose skits to create a lighthearted, intimate vibe throughout the performance. These skits allow the dancers — who are precise, collected and serious throughout the performance — to more casually interact with the audience directly. The performers are our classmates, and these interludes perfectly remind us of this fact.
The performance concludes with a company number, the 18th and final segment of the night. This is the first and only time that the audience sees the entire group together on stage; the collaborative dynamic between all members of the group is apparent, as, even with an entire stage full of dancers, they are able to work together and constantly maintain movement without overwhelming the audience.
Overall, the entire show is comprised of diverse interpretations, conjoined by the general theme of space. Each dancer, whether performing in a solo, a pair, a group or with the entire company, brings their own understanding of the astronomical theme to each number, ranging in abstractness, sharpness and trippiness. The company is able to convey their theme of space by means of music, sound effects, lighting and choreography in a way that captivates the audience without overwhelming it.
A Different Drum gracefully dances along the line between conveying the theme and overwhelming us with it, and I can say that their performance really is an extraterrestrial journey.
Are you ready for the space ADDyssey of your lives? If so, be at the Morse Crescent Theater on Friday, 11/3 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, 11/4 at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Tickets can be reserved online on Eventbrite at “2017 Space ADDyssey: A Different Drum Dance Company’s Fall Show.”
Nick Tabio | firstname.lastname@example.org .