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Dance Ensemble Shines In Robsham With ‘Ignite’

For The Heights

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

The Boston College Dance Ensemble lit up the Robsham Theater stage with a passionate performance worthy of the title Ignite. This engaging group of talented dancers produces two seasonal shows every year, each with a full program that lasts up to two hours. Their shows are performed three times, and I eagerly attended their second show last Friday night. The curtains parted as the music began, and immediately the lighting and clean beginning act, titled “You Give Me Fever,” gave me the impression that the Boston College Dance Ensemble is a group of practiced girls who love what they do, and do it well. The officers of BCDE choreographed “You Give Me Fever”, which definitely started off Ignite on a high note. It captivated the already cheering audience with fast-paced dancing that incorporated every dancer in the group. I know that it is difficult to integrate a large number of dancers into one routine while also keeping the dance looking clean and together. I was happy to see that BCDE looked sharp and trained, but still lively and fun.

One very memorable dance in the first act was a playful piece titled “Bring on the Men”, choreographed by Taleen Shrikian, A&S ’15. It was vivacious and strong from the start. The animation in each dancer’s style was apparent, and you could tell each one of them was enjoying what they were doing throughoutthe entire number. No one seemed to break character in this flashy, Chicago-reminiscent performance. After this brilliant piece, audiences had high expectations for what was to come, but the Dance Ensemble kept on delivering.

Act I ended with a somewhat confusing but still entertaining piece choreographed by Christina Beachnau, LSOE ’13 and Julie Krieg, CSOM ’13, titled “Drive Me Crazy.” These two senior choreographers created a Britney Spears medley of songs which immediately transfixed the audience’s attention on the stage and caused spontaneous sing-alongs in the crowd. The use of ballet in this number was generally confusing. Most people don’t think of pointe shoes and pirouettes when they reflect upon Britney—rather, they are immediately sent to the ’90s image of an extremely feminine international pop star. Even so, the girls were sharp and obviously enjoying their spotlight on stage. I caught some of the girls singing along to Britney’s lyrics and still gliding gracefully around the stage. The use of ballet eventually seemed intentional; it was comedic and amusing. I was ultimately pleased with the way in which BCDE closed Act One of Ignite.

“Accept Yourself” was one of the most impressive contemporary pieces in BCDE’s program this Fall. Nicole Harris, A&S ’4 paired this piece in the program with a quote: “We all have things that we do not like about ourselves that we wish we could change. A lot of the time these faults are things that most people don’t even see in us. The faults we see might be difficult to accept, but the sooner we do the happier we will be with ourselves.” This quote was very fitting to the message the song aims to get across, and one that the choreography and dancers successfully portrayed. In this piece, each dancer had a different word written in black across their bare stomachs that the audience was to assume is the thing that they individually wish they could change about themselves. During this emotive piece, every move the dancer makes is seemingly an attempt to rid themselves of this “fault.” As the lights dimmed on the talented group of six girls, I heard an audience member behind me say, “Wow,” and they were right to be so impressed.

The following piece, “High For This,” was another strong moving piece choreographed by Lauren Ritter, A&S ‘13. “The inspiration for my dance was the music,” Ritter said. The mix of slower contemporary sounds with beats and bass in the music was interesting for me as both a contemporary and hip hop dancer to choreograph to. I also wanted to tell a story with my piece, so I was inspired by the concept of someone trying to make a decision and being lost and pulled in different directions during the process.” The dance itself reflected this goal, linking images of contemporary and hip hop influence in one skillfully put together piece. I was personally captivated by the emotion in each dancer and believe that Ritter successfully portrayed someone trying to make a decision and being lost and pulled in different directions in this piece.

After seeing the performance, I was also fortunate enough to receive feedback from the group’s director, Hannah Camilleri, A&S ’13, and Ritter regarding their feelings about Ignite as compared to past shows they have been a part of.  “I think Ignite is an excellent example of the kind of high quality and exciting performances Dance Ensemble produces every semester,” Camilleri said. “We have an exceptional group of dancers this year that work extremely well together, so the dynamic among the dancers is great!” Similarly, Ritter said, “The dynamic of Ignite is certainly diverse [in comparison to past shows], but it is the energy that brings the pieces together.” From what I saw last Friday night, I cannot agree with their feelings more. This group of girls is very talented.

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