Built upon familiar themes of love, tension, pain, lust and joy, the Orchesis Dance Company created a collection of finely tuned jazz, ballet, hip-hop and contemporary numbers at their 47th annual dance concert “Synergy,” which opened in the Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre on Friday.
The show opened with student-choreographed “Solo/Together.” During the number, no two dancers were ever in sync, but a strong sense of unity remained throughout. The piece blended contemporary and hip-hop genres, allowing the dancers to showcase their individual styles.
Following “Solo/Together” with even stronger harmony between the dancers was “Come Into View.” The number began in complete silence, requiring the dancers to stay on beat without the aid of orchestration. Dancing without music can be awkward, but the Orchesis dancers took on the challenge with ease. The silence allowed the audience to pay closer attention to the dancer’s movements, highlighting the storyline and drama of the piece.
The standout jazz piece “Round Midnight” was a trio number performed by software engineering senior Fina Beauchamp, biochemistry sophomore Maile Crowder and kinesiology junior Jackie Schloemp. A battle between seduction and wit, the dance switched from awkward teetering poses to controlled, fluid motions with the swing of the piano. When the music turned seductive, so did the dancers, swiveling their hips toward the audience and showing off their legs.
The strong performance from the three dancers was full of depth and passion, giving the entire piece a strong sense of female empowerment.
One of the most unexpected performances of the night was “I Do?,” a ballet number set to Billy Idol’s “White Wedding.” The concept had the potential to be a dissonant disaster, but the Orchesis dancers managed to kept the form and finesse of ballet while dancing to the heavy classic rock. The unlikely combination turned out to be comedic and enchanting to watch.
The night ended with all of Orchesis joining in for the jazz number “Sweet Suite Ella.” Jumping on each other’s backs, stage-fighting and screaming over the music, the dancers completely let loose, creating a finale with an enormous amount of collective energy. The dancers descended into the aisles of the theater, making the audience a part of the stage and performance.
This creative use of space was seen throughout the show. The stage never felt empty during the performance, since the movements of the Orchesis dancers brought them from one side of the stage to the other in a moment’s notice.
“Synergy” didn’t have a clear theme that unified one piece to the next throughout the show, it told 12 different stories. The Orchesis dancers proved that even stories we’ve heard a thousand times can be reinvented in new and refreshing ways.
“Synergy” will be performed for a final weekend from Jan. 26-28 in the Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre. Tickets are for sale online between $12 and $20.