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There's nothing else for me but dance

By Clarissa Stark

Section: Arts

March 24, 2006

Im leaving my last class and heading for the weekend. Am I thinking about the Irish fun Ill be having? Not quite. I walk into the Shapiro Campus Center and head over to Java City, where I spot an unassuming BCAC sign on the table and pick up two tickets for Grand Slam. Theres nothing like a little ballet to spice up St. Patricks Day weekend.

Its been building up all semester, all year even. Especially with Boston a hop, skip and a jump away, Ive kept feeling that urge to do something cultural to see a show, go to a museum, something. Unfortunately, the laziness kicks in and I dont do anything about it, but thanks to BCAC I actually hear about things that I want to see. Thus, a Saturday night at The Wang Theatre with the Boston Ballet was born.

Dressed, maybe not quite to the nines, but at least to the sevens, my accomplice in dance and I braved the strong winds and bitter cold to the theater district of downtown Boston. Once inside the classically ornate theater, I found to my delight that our seats were pretty good, located on the orchestra level down on the left.
Since I have a knack for just barely being on time, I didnt have more than a minute or two to peruse the program before the lights dimmed and a lone dancer appeared on stage. For a few moments it was eerily quiet, with the sound of the dancers shoes echoing throughout the theater as she leapt across the stage. There was a sort of dramatic suspense in the air as I sat wondering in the darkened theater whats going to happen? will I like it? Grand Slam is a modern dance and not a traditional ballet and, since I dont know much about dance, I wasnt sure if it would be too out-there for me.

Then came that wonderful moment where it all came together I was swept along with the graceful bodies of the dancers. I was mesmerized, marveling at how effortless it all looked and yet how impossible it would be for me to imitate even one combination of their movements. If only my mad dash for the 6:30 shuttle could have equaled the grace of just one of the dancers falls. The way they would land light as a feather on the floor and just as beautifully rise back to their feet is the type of skill that is the envy of every klutz like myself.

Grand Slam was four modern dance performances, and as the first one came to a close, I was into it. Im still trying to find out what the second musical number was so that I can download it. But the second performance, entitled Plan to B and made possible by a major grant from The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation, was interestingly my favorite. This performance was both playful and powerful, the dancers' interactions engaging. I found myself gasping a few minutes into the performance when one of the male dancers propelled himself into the air and spun four times before landing with a resounding thump and effortlessly continued to dance.

At one point in Plan to B, one of the male dancers held the female and carried her across the stage while she moved her legs as if she were the one slowly propelling herself across the stage in the playful imitation of a gazelle. At another point, a new dancer appeared on stage in a bright purple costume and walked toward the center of the stage and then just kept walking until she exited stage right. That kind of teasing playful interaction continued along with beautiful movements and music.
The third work was beautiful and more like traditional ballet, while the last one, Lamberena, juxtaposed traditional African songs with Johan Sebastian Bach. At times, the mix was understandably odd, but I actually enjoyed it. It had a sort of Lion King on Broadway-esque flair to it that just worked. When the lights came on my mind was whirling like a prima ballerina and I felt that childlike urge to throw on a tutu and tell my parents I was throwing away two years at Brandeis to be a dancer.
Luckily I have no dancing ability, so the family doesnt have to worry. All the same, whether youve taken dance since you were six or, like me, took it for a little while when you were six, theres something undeniably classy and beautiful about watching these people do what they do. So if youve got that itch to do or see something cultural Id recommend checking out what the Boston Ballet is up to at www.bostonballet.org. And for those of you who are interested, Grand Slam is playing until March 26, so you still have time to catch it.

One friendly warning, though if youre highly susceptible, you may find yourself prancing about your room for a few days after a performance. Just remember to lock the door.

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