David Jang/Staff Photographer

Orchesis’ 44th annual dance concert, ‘Vitality,’ began this past weekend. Shows will continue until Feb. 8. Above is a photo from one of the show’s dress rehearsals.

Savannah Sperry

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A throng of dancers peppered the stage of Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre this past weekend, pirouetting through the routines of “Vitality,” Orchesis Dance Company’s 44th annual dance concert.

The show encompassed an array of genres, giving audiences a taste of modern, contemporary, jazz, ballet and hip hop-contemporary fusion. “Vitality” featured 13 choreographed pieces, each telling its own story while still contributing to the show as a whole.

“Vitality” was choreographed by faculty, guest artists and selected students. The performers included members of Orchesis Dance Company as well as guest dancers from the Modern/Contemporary Dance and Advanced Ballet repertory classes offered on Cal Poly’s campus.

Environmental management freshman Madison Miyamura danced in the show as a guest dancer from the Modern/Contemporary Dance repertory class.

“It was a lot of hard work, but it’s always a good experience to be in a show,” Miyamura said.

That hard work seemed to pay off.

“I thought it was very cathartic to watch the dancers move in the way that they did and really put their entire bodies into it, and just breathe through everything — it was really powerful to watch and experience,” audience member and psychology freshman Justine Nader said.

The show extended beyond its choreography, using costumes, lights and a fog machine to enhance the viewing experience.

“What stood out to me was the theatrics of it,” kinesiology freshman Julie Pollard said. “I thought the combination of the costumes in addition to the lighting all added to the whole tone of every piece, and each piece was very different and individual, so I thought it was interesting because the show encompassed a variety of emotions.”

“Vitality” also incorporated color, using muted tones for costumes at the show’s inception and building toward an explosion of pastels at its finale.

“The colors, I thought, reflected the mood of the piece,” journalism freshman Leah Horner said. “I noticed that a blue background would be used for the cool, kind of softer dances, and then red would be for the fast and powerful and fiery dances and then orange and yellow were kind of the mellow pieces.”

Horner also valued the show’s diversity.

“I really liked how versatile the whole show was,” she said. “It would go from a fast number to a slow number, and it kind of kept you entertained and on the edge of your seat as you were waiting to see what would happen next, because it was never the same thing twice. It was always different.”

The piece “On Making Decisions” was choreographed by liberal studies senior Ella Richards and performed by Richards as well as architectural engineering senior Robyn Schmidt, food science senior Brandon Takahashi and liberal studies junior Jenna VanderDoes. The routine used chairs as props as the dancers showed complete control over their bodies.

Psychology freshman Hannah Burgardt enjoyed the routine, she said.

“That was my favorite one by far, because they only used four dancers, and I thought that was way more powerful than having a group of people coming in and out,” Burgardt said. “They had really good extensions, too.”

The finale, “Red,” was choreographed by guest artist Nancy Cranbourne in collaboration with faculty member Christy McNeil and the Orchesis dancers. The piece was performed by the entire company and was multi-layered, with different dancers rotating on and off the stage in a lyrical, bluesy eruption of dance.

“The closing number was definitely a standout for me,” Nader said. “I thought that the dancers really were throwing themselves into every move, and it was really captivating.”

“Vitality” will be performed again on Feb. 6, 7 and 8 at 8 p.m.

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