The Boston College Dance Ensemble showcased beautiful technique and artful precision in its Spotlight performance this past weekend. Before the performance began, the audience was thanked for their contribution to the Campus School-a reminder that all of the proceeds from the show were donated to the school to help with the day-to-day costs of running the program.
The opening number, an upbeat medley of music and dance styles choreographed by the officers, presented the general themes of the evening. It was entertaining, well executed, and synchronized. A tap piece and then a few slow sets followed the performance. The pace of the music gradually picked up, leading to a performance of Jasmine Thompson’s cover of “Wrecking Ball,” choreographed by Kaitlyn Burrola, CSON ’16, and a fun performance of a cover of Britney’s “Toxic,” staged by Michelle Prew, Dance Ensemble director and A&S ’14.The music slowed down again after that with a couple of violin-heavy songs with strong vocals. The first act concluded with a wildly entertaining performance of Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.” It was one of the largest routines, with 19 dancers, and it stood out among the best choreographed and executed.
“Cell Block Tango,” choreographed by Taleen Shrikian, A&S ’15, opened up act two and was also one of the evening’s best. The choreography maintained the general outline of the dance set forth by the musical, but it still had distinctive features tailored to the strengths of the dancers performing.
There were several slow pieces in the second act-one of which was an absolutely beautifully choreographed and executed dance set to The Cinematic Orchestra’s “To Build a Home.” Also, a performance of Micheal Jackson’s “Pretty Young Thing” stood out as one of the evening’s best tap performances.
The most creative choreography of the night (Brigitte Butler, LSOE, ’14)-and arguably the best performance-was set to Jamie Cullum’s “Pure Imagination.” This version of the song had a more serious, nostalgic feeling to it. Combined with the sharp, almost robotic flow of the dance, “Pure Imagination” evoked the idea of growing up, loss of innocence, and the loss of imagination. Those ideas, however, were starkly contrasted with the soft lilac dresses of the performers and the unexpected tosses of glitter. The whole spectacle caught the audience off guard-it was whimsical, unpredictable. The visuals of “Pure Imagination” exuded innocence and freedom, and they were a delightful tribute to the original song.
The second to last piece of Spotlight was choreographed by the class of 2014. It combined a variety of styles, making it clear that the dancers were a tightly knit group and that they had worked together for a long time.
Overall, the show was one of the best acts to come to Robsham this season. It felt too short, despite being an hour and half long. The music selection for the show was phenomenal, allowing for a smooth flow from set to set while still maintaining a distinct look to the show. The soundbites showcased in Spotlight were quite diverse, including Queen, The Beatles, Rhianna, Celine Dion, Avicii, pure orchestral music, and even one narrated piece by Thomas Newton and Kevin Spacey. The costume design-visually directed by Crystal Bennet, CSON ’15, Laura Huggard, A&S ’15, and Shrikian-was also superb. The custom team did a great job choosing ensembles that complemented the musical selections. For example, the green dresses worn during the “Wrecking Ball” performance helped set the tone of the dance, and they distinguished it from original version of the song. This accentuated the more serious tone of the cover chosen for the piece. Similarly, the black uniforms with the sparkly headbands worn during the “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” performance were a nice touch-as were the chambray shirts and black leggings worn during the first tap dance.
The Spotlight show was a great representation of the technical and artistic skills of the Dance Ensemble. It was a special opportunity for these dancers to showcase their talent while also reaching out to the community by supporting the Campus School and spreading awareness.
*An earlier version of this article misidentified the choreographer of “Toxic” as Kaitlyn Burrola, CSON ’16. The number was choreographed by Michelle Prew, A&S ’14.