Semiannual Orchesis showcases highs and lows

Some dancers dazzled and others fell short as the members of Geneseo's largest organization took the stage in Wadsworth Auditorium this past weekend for the Fall 2009 Orchesis Showcase.

The show opened with a sharp and lively tap number titled "Grease" and was followed by a diverse array of dance types and musical selections.

Many of the hip-hop numbers of the show displayed excellent choreography that was unfortunately bogged down by dancing that lacked crispness and energy.

But while the hip-hop dances lagged, the contemporary ones excelled. Act I, for instance, contained a powerful, emotional piece titled "Dig," choreographed by sophomores Sara Ertel and Laura DeMarco, featuring dancers with their weaknesses written across their shirts. At the end, the dancers tossed their shirts aside, literally throwing away their insecurities.

"Where I Stood," a moving contemporary piece choreographed by sophomore Heather Bristol, shortly followed. The motions of the dancers were fluid and beautiful, and the number was passionate and poignant.

The two Irish dances of the night, "Stolen Kisses" and "Warriors," were choreographed and danced smoothly, with outwardly effortless footwork and seamless transitions.

Geneseo Bhangra closed Act I with a high-energy bang. Their dance showcased the technical precision and show-stealing vivacity that has become expected from the multicultural dance team.

Act II opened with a smooth contemporary piece to John Mayer's "Slow Dancing in a Burnin' Room," followed by an uninspired and sluggish belly-dance routine.

The show picked up again with "17 Years," choreographed by juniors Jillian DeGironimo and Liz Doyle. The lively hip-hop style piece displayed excellent athleticism and a surprisingly strong sense of unity considering the number of dancers that shared the stage. It closed with a blackout, during which the dancers used glow sticks around their wrists to paint images in the dark.

One of the most impressive numbers in the show was "Fall Back," choreographed by senior Katrina Fierle and sophomore Nate Smith. Pairs of dancers dressed in army clothes were chained to each other's legs and utilized the chain creatively through innovative choreography.

The show closed weakly with a performance of the Orchesis officers to the song "Fame," which felt oddly out of sync and unprepared, though the costumes were dazzling. It was jarring to see such a sloppy number immediately after the dramatic punch that "Fall Back" delivered.

On the whole, the high points were fantastic, the low points were dreary, but the overall show that Orchesis' Fall 2009 Showcase provided was well worth seeing.