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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Brandeis, I really love you

Published: November 12, 2010
Section: Arts, Etc.

Danielle Zipkin ’12 has created a short masterpiece. Inspired by movies like “Paris, Je T’aime” and “New York, I Love You,” Zipkin adapted several Brandeis love stories, submitted last year by students, into choreographed dances. Tackling themes ranging from the realization of friendship after heartbreak to self-exploration, Zipkin, with the help of a group of incredibly talented musicians and dancers, choreographed a nine-act dance performance that left the audience admiring her 10 months of hard work.

Unlike the movies that inspired her, the stories in each scene are not as easy to decipher. In general, each story’s themes were apparent, but more detailed interpretation was left to the audience, which added to the experience. Rather than simply being told several stories about random people at their own school, members of the audience were able to infuse their personal stories into the dances, creating a much more intellectually engaging performance.

The costumes lent themselves to the ambiguity surrounding the stories. With the four female dancers in white dresses and the four male dancers in white shirts and khaki pants, there was nothing to distinguish one from another. Despite the fact that the dancers could only rely on choreography, music and minimal props to tell their stories, they did an excellent job portraying the stories submitted by Brandeis students.

In the first, fifth and ninth scenes, the dancers quoted lines and phrases from story submissions. The first scene gave quotes exemplifying the feelings in the beginning of a new relationship; the fifth gave quotes about heartbreak and the seemingly everlasting desolation at the end of relationships. The ninth and last performance of the production highlighted the therapeutic feeling of self-discovery and self-love that writers had expressed, ending the show with a perfect take-home message.

My favorite scene was a piece Zipkin titled “Friends.” The submission, written by Molly Nathanson ’12, was titled “Love Story,” and told the tale of a first-year going through a painful breakup and leaning on a friend to get through it. Featuring dancers Kayla Dinces ’12 and Greg Storella ’11 and music by Ben Hornstein ’11, this piece tells what I believe to be the most important love-related lesson anyone can learn at Brandeis: while lovers come and go, the friends you make will get you through everything that comes your way.

Overall, “Brandeis, I Love You” was well worth the 10 months it took Zipkin to create it and worth the 30 minutes it took to watch.