Dance amateurs, aces alike shine in Orchesis show

When the phrase “dance recital” comes to mind, so appear images of Napoleon Dynamite breaking it down to Jamiroquai, those creepy Sparkle Motion girls from Donnie Darko or any number of infamous scenes from popular culture involving choreography and matching outfits.

But Orchesis, Geneseo’s largest student-run organization, put Hollywood posers to shame with its fall showcase on Sunday.

There were Irish step dancers, break-dancers, tap dancers and dancers of just about every style in between on stage in Wadsworth Auditorium that afternoon. The first act opened with an impressive jazz routine set to the song “Take Me to the Floor” by The Veronicas; the performance was choreographed by seniors Angela Snook and Breanne McCabe. The audience loved the high-stepping dance choreographed by junior Meghan Guild and set to the traditional Irish folk tune “Siamsa.”

Following a medley of remixed ABBA songs and some excellent disco dance moves was another crowd-pleaser, an interpretive ballet dance choreographed by sophomore Nick Hoffman and freshman Abby Kindler and set to Sara Bareilles’ “Breath Again.” Hoffman’s acrobatics were quite impressive and elicited several cheers from the audience.

It was a tough act to follow, but a group of hip-hop and break-dancers ended the first act with a flawless routine arranged by sophomores Zahra Kamilla and Mingshan Zhu.

“Everyone worked so hard and I think the show went really well. I’m already looking forward to choreographing next semester,” Kamilla said.

The second half of the show was a bit livelier than the first, and so was the audience. Cheered on by excited friends and families, the dancers kept the energy level high throughout the entire performance.

“I’ve been to Orchesis every semester since I came to school and this was the best one I’ve seen,” said junior Aaron Licari. “All the performers were very enthusiastic.”

Sophomore Esmeralda Askenas agreed with Licari, adding, “There was a lot of interpretive dance but I would have liked to have seen more hip-hop.”

A standout of the second act was a jazz number to Debi Nova’s Latin pop hit “Drummer Boy,” choreographed by sophomores Rachael Beckman and Katie Keller. A bit of rock ‘n’ roll from Lenny Kravitz was great choice to complement senior Josh Lang’s modern dance choreography in the last act before the finale.

The officers of Orchesis took the stage at the show’s conclusion to perform a clever contemporary dance routine to a Ke$ha and Katy Perry mash-up. As the curtain fell, the rest of the members ran out on stage for a spontaneous rendition of the electric slide. Napoleon Dynamite would have approved.

What makes Orchesis so unique is the enormous range of talent its members hold. It was easy to forget that many of the performers were dancing for the first time when watching the performance, a testimony to all the work that the group puts into the show.

Dance minors and amateurs alike are welcome to join Orchesis; students arrange all of the choreography. There are informational meetings at the beginning of each semester, so keep an eye out for more information come January.