Dance Body Performs a Wonderful Recital

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Dance Body Performs a Wonderful Recital

Dance Body performs Esto Es Dance Body in their end-of-the-year concert.

Dance Body performs Esto Es Dance Body in their end-of-the-year concert.

Dance Body performs Esto Es Dance Body in their end-of-the-year concert.

Dance Body performs Esto Es Dance Body in their end-of-the-year concert.

Gabrielle Vuylsteke and Molly Kraus-Steinmetz

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Dance Body performs Esto Es Dance Body in their end-of-the-year concert.

On May 25, patrons flowed into Tappan’s theater and mingled, chatting excitedly as they awaited the 32nd Annual Spring Dance Concert. Meanwhile, the dancers and their director Michelle Briscoe hurried to put finishing touches on makeup, costumes, and preparations for the show. Just before seven, Briscoe introduced the show, thanking those who helped make it possible, especially Deborah Sipos-Roe, Dance Body’s creator. Then the theater’s lights faded to black and loud, energetic music started pumping through the air. The concert had begun.

A semester full of work led up to this show. Sofia Kromis, a sophomore who has now been involved with Dance Body for two years, described the preparation dancers do for the show. “You choreograph one dance a semester, [and] you pretty much start right away. Maybe the second week of the semester we’ll start having rehearsals,” she said. “Each dance has one [rehearsal] a week for half an hour, and we have rehearsals all throughout, and we have checkpoints … After maybe a month you have to have half of your dance finished, and then if your dance is finished and if it’s clean then it’s in the show.”

All their hard work paid off — each dance was stunning. The student-choreographed dances ranged from more classical and graceful to modern hip-hop styles. Elements of the dances — such as brief, delicate contact between dancers; purpose-filled, stylized movements and a pair who artfully stepped around each other — made each dance unique.

In a sea of beautifully choreographed and executed dances, a few  performances stood out from the rest.

For example, Ellen Wolgat’s Conscious of a Phantom used four dancers to tell an emotional story. The varied heights of movement and individualized personalities of the characters contrasted sharply with smooth sections of puppet-like synchronization. Their movement conveyed anger, exhaustion and power.

The Gathering of Dark Souls… by Annabel Weiner surprised the audience. While the opening music, the darkly clad trio of dancers and the depressing title first conveyed a mournful feeling, the original dancers were quickly interrupted and chased off by a more playful tune and a trio wearing pink tutus. Their playful parading and the hula feel quickly brought the original dancers back to the stage. Six dancers finished the dance, twirling and stepping in pairs.

Another standout was Sofia Fall’s dance. In Inside Out, the choreography for five utilized the body’s limbs, hips, and shoulders. It was as if the quintet was swimming through syrup; their slow movements added to the effect. The dancers struck model-like poses in time to the beat.

Clare Jacobson’s Iteration, Recapitulation, Periodicity stood out from the other dances – its troop of ten dancers seemed to command the stage. The piece started with rows and rows of dancers marching onto the stage. At times, the business-like movements and synchronized twirls of the dancers seemed military-like; other times the dancers seemed to be blades of grass waving in the wind. By the third repetition, the dance had marked itself as unique.

By curtain call, the audience was completely enamored with the dancers. Lined up on stage, the dancers, joined by Briscoe, bowed and accepted a standing ovation from their audience.

Audience member and CHS student Christina Chang raved about the show. “It was amazing,” she said. “It definitely [lived up to my expectations]. It made me wish that I’ve gone to all the ones that I’ve missed before.“

Amelia Diehl, a fellow spectator, agreed.“I definitely did [enjoy it]. This is [the] second Dance Body concert I’ve been to,” said Diehl. “It’s kind of like theater, and there’s no words, but it really speaks to the audience [through] body language … It’s really fun.”

While Kromis said she felt slightly unprepared before the show, she was happy with the performance.  “It went surprisingly well. I was so nervous … but everything was okay!”

Melissa Krienke, a senior who has been part of Dance Body for three years, agreed. “I think it went pretty well. We had a couple of [bloops] because we’re not used to the stage, but I think it went well.” Because of an art event at Forsythe, Dance Body was unable to hold the program at its usual location. However, the dancers adapted to Tappan’s and performed beautifully.

Kromis said she loves Dance Body. “It’s probably the only chance I’ll ever get to have a group of people and tell them what to do and see my ideas on a stage. That’s crazy,” she explained. “I just I love dance body, and it’s not like a class –  it’s like a family, and I love everyone in it so much. They’re not my friends – they’re my sisters.”

Krienke reflected on her time in Dance Body. “I really feel like [Dance Body has] given me a lot of experience with choreography, which I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else, and I’ll value that especially as I’m going off to dance in college.”

Both dancers agreed that Briscoe has been good for the program. “She’s really enthusiastic, and ready to make Dance Body what it used to be, so I’m excited to see what she does with it,” said Krienke.

“She’s really kicked our butts into shape,” Kromis added. Dance Body has a bright future under Briscoe, and many dancers will get chances to choreograph their own dances in the future.

See BO$$Y, one of the dances from the concert, below:


See additional photos from the show below:

Video by Molly Kraus-Steinmetz. Photos by Gabrielle Vuylsteke with extra photos by Steve Coron.


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