Coloring The 'Spectrum'
Dancers gather in Robsham for eclectic act
Published: Monday, December 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 9, 2013 12:12
Every time the music slowed, the lyrics disappeared, and the lights dimmed, the movement of each and every dancer could be felt throughout Robsham at Boston College Dance Ensemble’s Spectrum show. Amid the synchronized sound of tap shoes and the hit songs of Michael Jackson and Lana Del Rey, it was these moments of stillness that truly made the dancers shine in Friday’s performance.
Dance Ensemble’s usual precision and grace were apparent, but the group also took bold steps to be unexpected. From song selections, to the showcasing of individual as well as group talent, the students displayed a wide variety of skill and technique, rendering “Spectrum” an apt title.
The company primarily performs contemporary dance with modern, tap, and lyrical infusions, but one thing’s for sure: they never showed the same dance twice. The performance, which was split into two acts and also featured Synergy and Fuego del Corazon, was structured well enough to keep the audience entertained by including contrasting songs and dance styles in back-to-back performances. It was refreshing to see song selections such as Mumford & Sons’ “Below My Feet,” which was the second dance of the show. Choreographed by Laura Huggard, A&S ’15, the dance was one of the most beautiful performances of the night, as the girls’ movements coincided perfectly with Mumford’s fast-paced folk strings and even reflected the lyrics of the song.
While there were a few misses—TLC’s “No Scrubs” and LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” are just too iconic to be substituted with acoustic covers—for the most part the music was well balanced. Popular hits such as “Royals” alternated with instrumental pieces, and the latter allowed the dancers their well-deserved attention, as even the smallest footsteps could be heard, capitalizing on each and every lift, leap, and spin.
Mirrors were a common motif of the performance—for both “In This Shirt” and “Young and Beautiful.” In the former, six dancers were accompanied by full-size mirrors, and although they could have been angled in a way to create more interesting reflections, they were perfect in conjunction with the Spectrum theme. The girls held smaller mirrors during “Young and Beautiful” for the duration of the dance, an artistic choice that lent itself well to the movement. The best visual display, however, was undoubtedly the performance of “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,” marking a strong close to the first act. Again, the all-white attire added a sense of purity and beauty to the piece, but the tossing of yellow petals at the end is what made the performance, as if an Impressionist painting were being painted right before us.
Both acts featured Synergy and Fuego, and the groups did not just perform themselves. Members of both groups choreographed dances that included the Ensemble dancers, allowing for striking combinations of BCDE’s fluidity with Synergy’s hip hop (and the crowd-favorite twerk party) and Fuego’s Latin flavor. Considering the fact that all proceeds from the show were donated to the Campus School, the unity between the dance groups created a strong sense of community on stage.
That sense of connection was most vividly felt during “Boston Strong,” the most chilling performance of the night, choreographed by Nicole Harris, A&S ’14. Peter Broderick’s “A Glacier” served as a quiet backdrop for the dance. Bits of speeches from the day of the marathon were interspersed throughout, the first from President Barack Obama’s speech that day: “The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight.” The moment harkened back to that tragic day in April.
The girls wore white dresses and showed their Boston pride by putting blue and yellow ribbons in their hair, a subtle yet powerful touch. As the spotlight focused on single dancers while the words reverberated throughout the theater, the audience was in complete silence and awe at the emotional performance. Three dancers joined hands at the end as they slowly walked toward the back of the stage, perhaps a symbol of the three individuals who lost their lives. It was a reminder of loss, but also gave a sense of hope and strength, as if to say that through art, none will be forgotten.