Flawless showcases student dancing

This past weekend, Dancers’ Symposium presented their fall production, Flawless, which included a mix of hip-hop, bhangra, ballet, techno, and tap numbers choreographed and performed by Carnegie Mellon students. The show was performed twice: on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

The theme was chosen by the directors after they sat down and began throwing out different words, according to Boo Kim, one of the show’s directors and a junior double major in engineering and public policy and chemical engineering.

The show’s diversity was immediately apparent in its opening three performances Saturday: a hip-hop dance to a medley of Missy Elliot songs, choreographed by architecture sophomore Krizia Torres, followed by a ballet to Canadian rocker Alanis Morrissette’s “Crazy,” choreographed by mechanical engineering sophomore Laura Gurwitz, which was in turn followed by an Indian ethnic dance performance titled “Navarasa.” Despite the show’s technical difficulties (a few times the dancers were in the dark), these varying styles of choreography made the show go by very quickly. Each new song was like looking into a different culture.

The closer of the first act was a piece choreographed by H&SS sophomore Christopher Peter Makris to Justin Timberlake’s ubiquitous “Cry Me a River.” The dancers — dressed in androgynous hooded sweatshirts and white tube socks — wove in and out of one another in an effortless, fluid fashion, emulating the imagery of the title. Coming together in a cohesive unit during the final moments of the track, standing back to front in a circle in the center of the stage, the dancers used the weighted balance of one another to sit on top of each other in unison, forming an undulating circle, each dancer’s body breathing and moving with the group as a whole. The simplicity of this final image, each performer using the weight of the others to support himself, was a show-stopping finale to the first act.
Makris was very pleased with the results of the show. “I think the show went very well. The tech rehearsals and dress rehearsals were nothing to how the show actually played out, and I’m very proud of everyone who took part in the show, especially my dancers,” he said.

The second act included a senior solo dance number choreographed and performed by BHA senior Gilani Moiseff to Donnie Klang’s “Pick It Up.” Moiseff also had her hands full with choreographing a group routine performed earlier in the show. Junior materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering major Raymond Ejiofor choreographed a beautiful hip-hop ballet to Me’Shell Ndegeocello’s song “Bitterly,” a dance infused with African influences and sexual undertones. Speaking of sexuality, the standout performance in the second act was a piece by SHS junior Anna Li-Conrad and chemical engineering sophomore Daniel Wetzel to John Legend’s “Ordinary People.” The female dancers dressed simply in black dance underwear and men’s T-shirts; the men half-dressed, depicted a poignant love story through dance. Ejiofor, also a dancer in this piece, acted as a lover moving too fast into a relationship with his heavy and rushed movements followed by an abrupt stop, teetering in mid-leap, in sync with Legend crooning “Take it slow.”

Rangos Hall was almost completely filled with Carnegie Mellon students, many of whom were hooting and hollering, giving shout-outs to their dancer friends in the dimly lit moments before each performance began. Whether it was the music or the good-natured spirit of a Saturday afternoon, the feeling in the auditorium was definitely one of appreciation for the arts: “I liked them all, but especially the tap dancing one,” said Max Jordan, a junior in electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering. “It was different.”

Dancers’ Symposium takes place every semester and showcases student-choreographed dances. Anyone with one semester’s worth of experience with the show can choreograph, and no formal dance training is required to participate.

“I personally don’t have any training ... but there are dancers in DS that [have] been trained for [over 10] years, and even some beginners,” Kim said. “Due to the wide range of talent and experience, DS does provide a valuable outlet for other student dancers, and most importantly, it’s fun!”

For those interested in showcasing their own dancing or choreography talents, the audition for the spring Dancers’ Symposium production will take place Jan. 17 in Rangos Ballroom at noon. Contact dancer@andrew.cmu.edu.

Editor’s Note: Max Jordan is a former assistant photo editor for The Tartan.