The performing arts and social justice department held their annual Dance Ensemble Spring Concert this past weekend, and this enchanting performance captivated students and families alike. The hour-long show featured five different pieces, all comprised of different student dancers and genres of dance, ranging from ballet to tribal African dance. All the performances were creative and interesting to watch, and because performing arts at USF is tied to social justice initiatives, all the dances covered deeper issues.
A touching and entertaining dance called “Divinity” featured student Danielle Smith’s original poetry, some spoken word and Whitney Bagley’s vocals. About halfway through the piece, Saharla Vetsch and Allyn Savage danced to N.E.R.D’s hit song “Lemon,” featuring Rihanna. The crowd went wild for their hip hop section of the routine. The audience hooted at two soloists who took turns popping and locking, the hip hop dancers impressing everyone by practicing isolation.
“Coming Up Roses” was a very ominous and dark modern/contemporary routine. The costumes were colonial-style, and the performers used candles and roses as props. The dancers employed a lot of shaking movements to incite fear (at least that’s how I took it). They rattled like they may as well be having seizures at various points throughout the dance. Other than that, the dance was very fluid and featured some individual improvisation.
The ballet piece, called “Parallax,” was a beautiful performance featuring flamenco skirts and Spanish accents. This masterful ballet piece incorporated movements with the ladies’ frilly skirts and some clapping here and there, but was primarily very technical ballet. There were leaps, pirouettes, battements and many other classic steps.
Dedication to “all women rising to find strength in themselves and each other,” as written in the events program, was the theme of the piece “Las Toreras.” This modern piece was all done around a broad, ladder-type structure, allowing girls to pantomime physically pushing each other down and off the structure while half the dancers were physically above the other dancers. “Las Toreras” literally showed people putting others down and seeing others as inferior/superior to one another, yet the dance ended on a sweet note with an uplifting hug around the structure.
The last dance was an impressive and exotic piece that featured ritual Adzogbo dance moves, a West African dance genre. This was an African tribal piece danced only to the beat of one single drum. The costumes were African-style jumpsuits with a frilly and multi patterned skirt attached. As the drum beat, the dancers spun, kicked, jumped and shook with flexed feet, attitude and passion with some authentic African dancing.
The online version of this story has been corrected from the print version: NERD has been changed to N.E.R.D
Featured Photo: Senior, Danielle Smith, performs in the spoken word performance, “Divinity.” HURSH KARKHANIS/ FOGHORN