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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Adagio Dance Company dazzles at ‘Be the Spark’

Published: November 14, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc., Featured

Lights and streamers lined the stage. Nearby hung a colorful sign that read “Adagio Dance,” a considerably modest setup for the Dance Company’s latest performance, “Be the Spark.” Other than these subtle decorations, the only other adornment was a white tarp that hung in the stage’s background, used primarily to catch the spotlights. These overhead lights added another layer to the performance by constantly changing color, flashing and dimming in and out. “Be the Spark,” overall, was successful in unveiling the fiery, glowing sparks that twirled, shimmied and soared throughout the entirety of the stage—until eventually resuming the final pose of the performance and gracefully blowing out.

Adagio featured several dance styles, including modern, hip-hop, jazz and lyrical ballet. The range of musical numbers was so diverse and so vast—the very essence of some songs contradicted each other—that the shift from one number required the adjustment from one “world” to another. As Bentley’s dance group CRAZE completed the last few jerky moves of their edgy hip-hop number, for example, Adagio performed “Alleviate,” a soft, graceful and elegant dance. The switchover from rough and tough to a delicate lullaby really shows just how wide-ranging and distinct the show was.

The dancers were altogether clean, sharp and sophisticated—to say the absolute least. The coordination and synchronization of each and every piece goes to show just how dedicated the dancers truly are, and the amazing art they are capable of making. One haunting dance number, “You Need,” was performed by Dance Ensemble and was meant to show the “struggle of seven girls as they fight to control each other,” as the program notes. The song “You Need” by the The Bengsons, in tandem with the inventive and unsettling choreography, generated an unnerving vibe that was absolutely chilling to the core. The nature of power dynamics, deception and manipulation were all inadvertently visible throughout the choreography; some girls were being controlled like puppets, unable to move—to dance—on their own. To top it all off, the very end of the dance was punctuated as one dancer stood on a chair and snapped her fingers, causing all the other dancers to fall to the ground—a powerful message and thrilling finale to a beautifully crafted performance.

Brandeis University’s Hooked on Tap (HOT) also shuffle ball-changed its way onto the Levin Ballroom stage. Brandeis’ only tap performance and teaching group made an appearance at the Adagio Dance Performance with a number titled “Don’t Stop Me Now.” The patter of tap shoes emanated throughout the ballroom’s enclosed space, creating one combined melodious sound. It was as if the tap dancers were playing instruments but with their feet, paying careful attention to each and every swipe against the floor. The tap dancers’ awareness of each other and ability to feel the music was obvious in every hand movement and every shuffle of the feet.

In between numbers, Levin Ballroom was riddled with chuckles, largely due to the emcees’ witty comments and strange reactions to each group’s performance. David Getz ’15 and Dan Hirshfield ’16 were well-chosen emcees because of their proficiency in renewing the audience’s interest in the performance and keeping a lighthearted atmosphere. At one point in the performance they claimed to “love the energy” they felt around them without realizing that they set the tone for the entire show. All in all, they both had a very strong presence and are characters that are hard to forget.

“Be the Spark” was undeniably entertaining, charming and gripping, and really sets a high bar for all of its dancers and future performances. The dedication and enthusiasm of the dancers was possibly potent. The blood, sweat and tears of each and every individual, though not literally seen, are still very evident. The interest and ardor of a small subset of Brandeis’ student body is truly amazing and should be recognized as such.

Adagio Dance Company is looking for more dancers and will be accepting interested performers at the start of the spring semester. It accepts individuals of all dance levels and is both flexible and accommodating, allowing for interested persons to determine their own level of dedication.