Dancers assemble for impressive display of talents

Geneseo's talented dance ensemble dazzled their audiences with their skill and passion last week in the School of the Arts' "New Dances Edition 2010."

The show encompassed works by faculty, students and guest artists and exhibited the prowess of Geneseo's dance minors and concentrators.

Assistant professor Ruben T. Ornelas' "Tierra Mojada" opened the first act, followed by senior Julia Zdrojewski's solo "Seven Stages," a beautifully abstract piece illustrating the process of grieving. Zdrojewski danced it with incredible passion and gravity.

Later, senior MaryElisabeth Kimbark's "Lasting Vigor" illustrated the raw power of dance with strong moves and intense choreography.

The highlight of the first act was senior Lauren Pajer's high-intensity, multi-part dance saga "Inevitable." Centered on the anxiety of change, Pajer's choreography was filled with sensuality, passion and dramatic tension, engaging the viewers in a visually-absorbing narrative.

The second half showcased more stylistic variety than the first, featuring a carefully choreographed and artfully danced ballet piece originally composed by Jules Perrot as a pure dance piece for the four "romantic" ballerinas and adapted for Geneseo by Jonette Lancos. The ballerinas showed their technical skill by remaining en pointe for a good portion of the piece and showed grace and professionalism in their movements.

Ornelas' playful jazz-inspired piece called "Blue Drag" followed, featuring especially enjoyable performances from junior Becky Hoffman and senior Sean Lessard as a delightfully coy couple.

Kimbark shone in her solo, "Spark," a cleverly choreographed piece that exhibited her extensive dance talent.

The showstopper of the second act was "Yes, Indeed!" the newest piece from world-renowned guest artist Bill Evans. It featured dancers executing rhythmic tap dances from constantly shifting chairs and made the most use of visual levels and the size of the stage than any other piece in the show. The dancers were energetic and thrilling to watch, closing the show with a bang.

The lighting designers do a subtlety spectacular job of providing the dancers with stunning backdrops and dramatic spotlights. The lighting in "Lasting Vigor," which showcased a red burn slowly creeping across the background, was especially dazzling.

The costumes were well chosen and often emphasized the movement of the dancers. "Blue Drag's" costumes were exceptionally charming with their southern jazz feel and the ballet gowns in "Pas de Quatre" rippled beautifully to echo the grace of the ballerinas.

Freshman Jeff Fischer provided live piano accompaniment to several pieces from the stage itself, and was integrated into the pieces he performed in rather than being just another set piece.

The dancing in the show was undoubtedly a success, but the show itself had a tendency to drag, with fewer pieces that lasted under 15 minutes and too many similar pieces clumped together. There were also bows after each number, and the show probably could have been streamlined by condensing them into one group bow at the close of the performance.

Still, the show remained an overwhelming success and Geneseo should be extremely proud to be represented by such talented dancers.