The Dance Organization of Boston College ushered in the weekend with a series of three performances, highlighting the group’s versatility in its jam-packed Rumors showcase. The program for the show explains the meaning behind its name. The name “Rumors” is not only a cutesy reference to the story told to the crowd, but also an acknowledgment of the bond the group has. The numbers’ transitions feature an accompaniment of Heightsmen and Synergy performances, but the obvious commitment of the girls (and boy) to one another and their art was worth the ticket.
The show opens with “Secrets,” a larger-than-life number choreographed by the officers of the organization. “Secrets” exhibits what is perhaps the best part of the show: the impressive strength and endurance of its wide array of dancers. In the ingenious, shifting pyramid formation that dwindles down to a point as girls dash offstage, the pirouettes continue to revolve past audience expectations and deep into a wave of applause. It may not present the strongest narrative of the show, but the piece highlights the talent of the dancers in the same way the later numbers “Speak, Easy” and “Human” do—that is, by showcasing the dancers’ powerhouse stamina in addition to their grace.
Soon after, the lights come up on a smaller number, set to a sultry version of “Crazy in Love.” The voice crooning over the sound system is intimate and slow, and the choreography reflects this seamlessly in its tense balance between the fluid and the electric, the soft and the sharp. The girls use chairs and their own bodies to work the floor as an instrument, and the whole piece is carried by this heartbeat pace as they peel up from the floor in perfect synchronization. Feistiness is a strong suit throughout the show, with the numbers that exude empowerment and self-assurance still being praised even after the final curtain falls. Sassiness reappears in many forms, some self-effacing and fun like the tap rendition of “Battle of the Boybands,” and others so bold or brazen as to be intimidating, like the quick and gyrating hip-hop choreography of “Yoncé.” Each one has a palpable aura of infectious confidence that jumps off the stage into the crowd, making for a handful of entertaining gems throughout the show.
Experimentation with and deviation from this formula of sass yields mixed results. Some slower numbers like “Sweet Disposition” and “Wonderland” seem to dawdle in their sentimentality, and emotionally ambitious pieces such as “Hunger” and “Undertow” fall just short of communicating their respective depths. Even “Dream On,” an Aerosmith adaptation, and the classic jazz Liza Minelli number, “I Gotcha,” start off with the best of intentions only to stumble into stiff or dragging spells. When done right, though, DOBC’s wandering into unfamiliar waters makes its mark. “Reach Out” is choreographed to a Marilyn Manson track, walking the line of dangerous and sultry with innovative edginess best seen in the visually flawless canon sequence. The previously mentioned “Battle of the Boybands” unites the swagger of ’90s pop beats to truly impressive tap skills from a large group, and the use of “At Last” by Etta James unites a great song to a great theatrical story, love-struck with confetti and buoyancy.
In a similar vein are the moments of sentimentality done right, two falling memorably at the close of the show. In “Back to the Start” and “Rumor,” the group forgoes detailed storytelling or a flippant attitude in exchange for displaying their own connection to each other, whether it is in the graceful all-senior number or the full company closing piece. In each, the genuine attachment of the dancers to each other is just as apparent as their attachment to the agility and dynamics in their work. “Rumor,” with exceptionally clean synchronization considering the size of the number, cleverly choreographs each class year to have a moment in the spotlight. It is this loving dedication that shines through the entirety of the show, making even those numbers verging on being stilted seem uplifted by the obvious hard work and genuine joy of the performers.
Featured Image By Savanna Kiefer / Heights Editor