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Mayim Steps, Maxie Fords, and Much, Much More!

By Arielle Kaplan

Section: Arts

January 26, 2007

The spring semester is a busy time for the dance teams of Brandeis University. All of them are gearing up for their big shows, which fall from February to early April. BYachad (Israeli dance), Hooked on Tap (H.O.T.), and Adagio have the largest performances and showcase some of the best dancers on campus. Knowing this, these shows are not to be missed.

BYachad, Brandeiss competitive Israeli dance troupe, has not one, but four large performances happening this spring. The first, which is on-campus, is the annual show, Standing O (Feb. 8 and 10 at 8 p.m.). BYachad will perform three full company dances and six small pieces. “Baby BYachad (an open dance which anyone can take part in) will be in one number;

Adagio, Manginah, H.O.T., and Boston Universitys Israeli dance team will also perform. The other three events are Culture X and the two large festivals in Boston (March 11) and New York City (March 25).

Stephanie Gould '08, one of the two artistic directors, spoke with enthusiasm when interviewed about the group. Being in BYachad is a lot of fun. Although it is a lot of work being one of artistic directors, it also gives me a really special opportunity. BYachad is so unique because we try to take Israeli dance and incorporate it into modern times, keep it contemporary. Therefore, I get to teach our dancers pretty much everything the really traditional stuff as well as modern, lyrical, even some latin-influenced moves. This prepares us to dance in almost any situation – we can work the traditional Israeli dance circuit as well as perform yearly in Culture X. Still, while we may not be strictly 'traditional,' our roots lie very heavily in the Israeli dance tradition. However, we are not your mother's Israeli dance, either. It's just really great that I get to do so much in a single group.

The fun doesnt stop with Israeli dance though! One week before Standing O is the yearly H.O.T. show, on Feb. 1. This years team is filled with both old dancers and new, all with great talent. This is Hooked on Taps third annual show and it features songs such as King of New York (choreographed by Julie Berg 07), Moses Supposes (choreographed by Catherine Wagner 09), and Ants Marching (choreographed by Daniel Baron 09). Berg told The Hoot a little bit about what goes into the show: The theme of this year's H.O.T. show is Too HOT To Handle, and we are definitely living up to that title! We have over 40 performing tappers from Brandeis ranging from people who just started tapping this year to people who have been tapping since they could walk. This year we have Broadway-styled tap dance, rhythm tap, soft shoe, and everything in between! Dancers generally rehearse at least one hour per week per dance they are in.

In addition to dancing in the three shows, Berg is a choreographer for all of them. I really enjoy choreographing! she said. Its really exciting to see the dance you played around with in your head playing out on your dancers. I choreograph for H.O.T., B'Yachad, and Adagio, so I get the chance to choreograph a wide variety of dance types.

The last major show, which is happening on March 15 and 17, is Adagios spring performance. Adagio has many different styles of dances in its show and there is open casting in the winter, so everyone who wants to can be a part of it! Within the show are many dance styles, including jazz, tap, hip-hop, modern, lyrical, and ballet. The Adagio show is a good choice for anyone who likes all different styles of dance rather then one type (i.e. tap) all night long.

Adagio will also be performing at “Standing O” along with Hooked on Tap and at Culture X. If you cant get enough of Adagio, the Dance Ensemble, which is a smaller group within the main one, performs at many of the Brandeis basketball games and at other Boston-area events. Wendi Safran '07, who is a member of the Dance Ensemble in addition to being in Adagio, had this to say: This is my fourth spring show and Im very, very excited. Its a great opportunity for people who like to choreograph and dance to show off their talent. We have seventeen dances and over 80 dancersthe number of people participating is at an all-time high, which is very exciting for us as a club. I think the best thing about the show is that we give everyone a chance to perform, no matter what level. There are also a lot of seniors in the show, so its going to be very emotional at the end I think, because a lot of us have been in the show for the last 3 years and a lot of seniors are choreographing too. Wendi has choreographed for the spring show every year since she began her Brandeis career. I feel so old, she said with a laugh. It has been a lot of fun though. Its a lot of hard work, but seeing the final product is always so satisfying that its worth it. It has been great, I love Adagio.

Its clear to see that the Brandeis dance scene has a lot to offer the community in the coming months. Each group has something for everyones tastes and mixes so many different styles of dance into its shows that you might find out you love something totally new. Come on down to the Shapiro Theater on Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. to see the H.O.T. tappers who are hot to go, make another visit there on either Feb. 8 or 10 for BYachads Standing O, and on March 15 and 17 take a trip to Levin Ballroom to see Adagios Spring Show.

Note: Arielle Kaplan is a member of both Hooked on Tap and BYachad.

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