Orchesis held its biannual Fall 2015 Showcase on Friday Nov. 13 and Saturday Nov. 14 in Wadsworth Auditorium. The showcase had an eclectic number of dances—15 that ranged from lyrical to contemporary to hip-hop pieces. All of them illustrated not only the wide-ranging skill level of students, but also the creative talents of student choreographers.
Though the signified meaning of orchesis denotes “the art of movement”—as it derives its name from Greek origins—Orchesis at Geneseo is known as the largest student-run organization on campus. It has well over 300 members, all students who work together in order to create this entire group and event. The dances at the showcase were entirely choreographed and performed by students.
“Normally, there are a lot of popular songs [in the showcase] because people will get very excited about the popular songs when they see it on the program and then in between, there are different songs that you’ve maybe never heard of,” dancer junior Shannon Walsh said.
This was evident when seeing such songs as Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” or Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” on the program. There were a myriad of lesser-known songs such as “I Found” by Amber Run, which followed “Uptown Funk.” This way of formatting the showcase did not just apply when dealing with the reputation of songs, however; there was a uniform assortment of all levels of dance.
“Orchesis is very versatile because it has beginner, intermediate and advanced dances,” dancer junior Alexa Rose Baviello said. “The way the e-board set up the program, it wasn’t just dances working its way from beginners up to the advanced—it was a mix throughout.”
No matter what the song or the skill level, there were many crowd-pleasers of every type. Rihanna’s “Pon De Replay,” for example, had one of the largest numbers of beginner dancers and was no less entertaining to the crowd than the advanced, contemporary dance to Tailor’s “Shaped Like a Gun.” No matter what the level, genre or popularity of the song, every dance was enjoyable in its own way.
Each dance showcased the careful planning that went into the songs, particularly on the choreographer’s part. From the excellent use of gestures—such as when the dancers all clapped their hands as they glided off stage to Halsey’s “Hold Me Down”—to the great kinesics when the dancers in AWOLNATION’s “Sail” all used seemingly robotic arm movements to match that of the song’s, the choreographers definitely put a lot of time and effort into the Orchesis performances.
“Orchesis is really nice because it’s great to see something from your peers getting put together,” “Wildest Dreams” co-choreographer sophomore Hope Rinaldi said. “You know that professors and dance instructors are getting paid to put something together—that’s their job. But to actually do it yourself, to know that you can do it, it’s really nice.”
This manifested during the final performance, which was put on by Orchesis’ editorial board. Titled “TV Moms,” this was a plethora of songs from popular television shows, ranging from the “Addams Family Theme” to Carole King’s “Where You Lead,” otherwise known as the theme song for “Gilmore Girls.” The crowd boomed with laughter as they watched the officers dancing like some fan-favorite mothers, such as Wilma Flintstone from “The Flintstones.”
“At the end of the day, it’s important to make everyone look good,” Rinaldi said. “It’s not about trying to make the dance look hard; the level had to be one everyone could do with Orchesis. Everyone was happy with what they were doing.”