Orchesis exhibits range of talent with emotive dance

Student-run dance club Orchesis presented their annual fall showcase in Wadsworth Auditorium on Saturday Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. and Sunday Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. The show opened with psychology major sophomore Nikki Acierno and biology major junior Taylor Gerner’s moving “Rise Up.” Clad in military green and black, the dancers conveyed a sense of lightness and transience as they gracefully twirled and jumped around the stage. After running offstage and reappearing in groups, the dancers all came together once more for an uplifting finish.

In contrast to the airiness in “Rise Up,” psychology major junior Kat Estep’s “Tesselate” expressed a sense of grounding as she utilized simple and sharp movements in time with the musical beat. The music itself gave off an edgy, futuristic vibe, accentuated by the isolated––nearly robotic––motions from the dancers and their all-black outfits.

Early childhood/childhood education major senior Alexandra Weber’s “Elastic Heart” and anthropology major sophomore Abbie Guisbond and psychology major sophomore Sydney Klein’s “Retrogade” also gave off a darker vibe through their routines. The “Elastic Heart” dancers utilized a lot of creative partner interaction that struck an interesting balance between soft and sharp motions. The fast-paced ending featured Weber sprinting along a line of dancers that collapsed one by one. Eventually, the dancers left the stage with only Weber remaining on stage, kneeling and clutching at her chest in a powerful finish.

“Retrograde” also featured unique partner interaction, emphasized by the contrast between the dancers’ attire of white and black dresses. This was one of the more technically precise and emotional pieces. The dramatic ending of the dancers in white being shoved to the ground by those in black, who then slowly exited the stage, had the students behind me whispering, “Wow, that was really cool.”

Perhaps the star number of the show, however, was a contemporary piece: biochemistry major senior Alyssa Bowling’s “She Used to Be Mine.” The powerful choreography perfectly accentuated the song’s melancholic and heartbreaking resonance. The contrast between the sweetness of the dancers’ pink dresses and their strong movements was brilliant as well.

On a less serious note, physics major sophomore Emily Verhaeg and mathematics major sophomore Jenn Conflitti choreographed the charming and jazzy “Hairspray,” taking the audience back to the 1960s as the dancers shook and shimmied around the stage with high ponytails bouncing. The sole male dancer in the show complemented the female dancers well, entertaining the crowd with his enthusiastic booty shaking and tuxedo T-shirt.

The other jazz piece––English major sophomore Samantha Schmeer’s “Pretender”––was fun and flirtatious; the dancers blew kisses from red-covered lips and swayed their bodies to the sultry female vocals crooning, “I’m nobody’s fool. Hey, baby, you’re just a pretender.”

No Orchesis show is complete without a healthy dose of Beyoncé, however, which was found in psychology major senior Laura Dolan’s sassy “Crazy in Love.” The dancers smiled wide from the start of the routine to finish, and while the moves weren’t extremely fast-paced, the choreography was well-executed and it was heartwarming to see the dancers beaming with genuine enjoyment.

Early childhood/childhood education major freshman Melissa Maliniak’s “No Problem” and business administration major sophomore Sunny Krupnicki’s “Werk” seemed to draw the most vocal response from the audience, bringing infectious attitude and energy with their dynamic hip-hop choreography. Both pieces featured mash-ups of poppy hip-hop tracks, including Kanye West’s “I Love Kanye,” Drake’s “One Dance” and an awesomely fast remix of Rihanna’s “Work.”

The classic Orchesis officer’s dance was clever and funny, as usual. The performance featured slow, stripped-down covers of Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” “One Dance” and Sia’s “Cheap Thrills.” The officers interspersed their graceful movements with overly exaggerated club moves, such as crumping and making it rain. The routine then transitioned into the finale––Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”––where all the performers joined the officers on stage to freestyle.

Orchesis gave a compelling show that allowed dancers of all experience levels to shine through the beauty, creativity and power of dance.