Monday, October 5, 2009

Review-Bates College Modern Dance Company

Dance training is a serious business, as the average American now knows from watching popular TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. These programs have shown the intensity and rigor required to learn and execute dance movements. Then to become adept at performing dance takes a whole other set of skills. This weekend a very astute group of college students took to the stage to show their stuff in Lewiston. The Bates College Modern Dance Company presented a concert that was part of Parents Weekend. Bates offers a minor degree in dance and these young dancers proved they are working hard to get good grades by offering up a wonderfully mixed dance concert.

The curriculum in the department offers typical dance classes in ballet, modern and jazz, but it also includes Step Crew Dance and Bollywood Inspired Dance. The students were in charge of choreographing five of the seven dances and they used these various dance styles in the program. Ready.go by Senior Gina Petracca featured six dancers in a breezy jazzy dance. Performed to the music of Basia the dancers showed good technical proficiency with a Latin inspired soulfulness. Next, Some ghoulish beings emerged from the audience onto the stage to form a mass of twenty-one zombies dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller. Here, the step crew slapped and stomped bringing whoops and hollers from the audience. Sophomore co-choreographers Ashley Brooker, Kira Gavin, and Victoria Lowe created a complex display of intricate rhythms. The group's energy used simple yet powerful beats while creating interesting visual patterns. The dance began with all women doing these steps until two men come from the corners to try and take over. The men showed bravado and skill trying to out do the girls. It was comedy that in the end, brought them all together with force and power. Super cool and so unexpected!

Another great surprise was Bollywood Damak Medely choreographed by Harita Dharaneeswaran. Beginning with classic Indian costumes and movements, accompanied by live traditional vocal song, this piece evolved into a hip modern version of Indian dance like we saw at the end of the popular movie Slum Dog Millionaire. Using both classic Indian and new movements made this dance very exciting.

Seniors Nicole Kahn and Gina Petraccca offered a moody duet and Sophomore Shelesma Chhetri danced a joyous solo. Also on the program were dances by guest choreographer Debi Irons and Bates Dance Director Carol Dilley.

This program showcased a group of upcoming committed dancers that we'll have to keep an eye on as they develop and grow during their college time.

Bates College Modern Dance Company, October 3rd and 4th at Schaeffer Theater

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