Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dance Alabama! DA! Comes highly recommended

by Suzanne Flanagan

The Dance Alabama! Spring Concert 2008 featured an array of dance styles that ranged from modern hip-hop to a country ballet hoedown. The UA Theatre and Dance students proved once again their awesome talents in producing innovative, unique creations through dance. They were able to communicate serious emotions through their movement. Some pieces like Sarah deFuniak’s “Alright,” was an emotional journey, while others were technique-driven, like “Moment to Reflect” by Shannon Lindamood and Anna Solomon.

One of the first pieces that caught my attention was Sarah Porras’s “Assembly.” Although I’m not sure I completely understand her vision, Porras’s choreography was an interesting blend of modern dance and hip-hop. She used music by Radiohead, which added a cool tempo to her piece.

This show’s crowd pleaser is Journey Through Africa choreographed by Jamal Edwards. Edwards, who also performed in the piece, created an energetic, heart-pounding routine to lively African rhythms. Journey Through Africa began with a solo vocal performance of “I’ll Fly Away,” featuring Sheniqua Trotman. The song was a soulful opening that gave way to the fiery choreography that followed. Edwards’s dancers smiled joyfully as they performed the exhausting number. Animalistic noises from behind the curtains amplified the adrenaline on stage.

Another impressive piece was “I Want More,” choreographed by Brittany A. Young. This piece featured Ryan Arnold, Josh Henderson and Adrienne Hicks in a furious love triangle. Hicks is violently pushed and pulled by her suitors. Her emotions combined with the never-ending pirouettes and fouettes by both men, created a captivating performance that I didn’t want to see end.

Finally, Frank Barber’s “The Big Bang Theory” was an exciting mix of musical enjoyment and visual stimulation. Barber’s dancers were clad in glow-in-the-dark costumes highlighted with a black light. This performance got a lot of buzz. With its enticing colors and special effects it felt like the audience was inside of a video game.

As a whole, Dance Alabama! was an enjoyable event. I loved trying to figure out what inspired the choreographers in each decision they made from lighting to casting. It left me longing for more jétes, pirouettes and developés. I guess I’ll have to wait until ARDT, which opens after spring break.

Dance Alabama! Spring Concert 2008 will continue February 20-22 in Morgan Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The show was roughly an hour and a half.

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