Shakespeare, tulle and romance filled the air Friday night at the Yale Undergraduate Ballet Company’s spring showcase, “Perchance to Dream.”
YBC performed “Perchance to Dream” at the Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School. With 21 different segments, the ballet presented a multitude of themes and emotions, all embodying the works of William Shakespeare through music. Every dance is student-curated and personalized with different styles, costumes and the number of dancers chosen to tell that piece’s story.
“YBC is a super cohesive group of people, who not only dance together but also support one another outside the studio. It’s definitely more than just a dance company, but rather a very tight-knit community,” said Karen Jiang ’21, a member of the company.
Most of the dancers have been training in ballet for large portions of their lives, and they are grateful to carry on this hobby and further cultivate their talents at Yale.
The show’s theme presented audience members with a classic selection of pieces, filled with traditional routines and music written by artists such as Arvo Part and Sergei Prokofiev. But it also displayed modern contrasts, with songs by Sara Bareilles and Sia.
“YBC’s spring show typically features more classical choreography and music, with some contemporary pieces scattered throughout the program,” Jiang said. “The balance between classical and contemporary gave our audience a taste of the classical training backgrounds many of us come from, while also putting an interesting balletic spin on popular music that they they’re likely more familiar with.”
The music and the choreography all matched the idealist notion of dreams and whimsicality. The stage technology helped establish that effect as well, with the background screen effectively reflecting the design and the aesthetic of the performances.
In the first act, the screen communicated feelings of solemnity and grace, with ocean blues and lilac lavender. The second act marked a transition in the show, bringing to the stage shades of red and bright orange and yellow.
The showcase presented a lot more than traditional ballet, and presented not only simple grace, but complex meaning. Songs such as Grace VanderWaal’s “Darkness Keeps Chasing Me” and Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” magnify feelings differently than the implicit narratives told by the traditional music. As a whole, the show offered a candid representation of the ballet’s meaning.
“The dreaminess wasn’t only in the soft steps and the outfits — it was the entire thing,” said Cristina Bermudez ’21, who attended the show. “It all felt like a world the audience was drawn into, one of dreams and magic.”
Many of the routines were performed by single dancers. These dances showcased the remarkable talents of the members in the group. Emily Amjad ’19, Julia Sanderson ’21, Safia Speer ’20 and News staff reporter Ashna Gupta ’20 all performed solo dances. The company performed the last song, “A Sky Full of Stars,” as a whole.
“Everyone has such a unique style and it’s really incredible to see all of these different styles showing through in the diversity of the choreography,” wrote Elizabeth Ruddy ’20, the president of YBC, in an email to the News. “We all come from very different backgrounds but everyone shares a deep love for classical ballet, and we can bond over things like the beauty of Prokofiev’s music and the pain of putting on pointe shoes again after a too long hiatus.”
The YBC is Yale’s only undergraduate dance group that specializes in ballet.
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