As we’ve come to expect each spring semester at Brandeis, Adagio’s semester show brought to Levin Ballroom a packed evening of 21 dance pieces of several genres. Titled “Dance Everywhere!” the show spoke to the great efforts of Adagio’s roughly 80 members.
Adagio is Brandeis’ largest student-run dance group, open to all students regardless of dance background. Instead of auditions, Adagio hosts placements, in which any interested student is placed in at least one dance. Additionally, Adagio consists of Dance Ensemble, a small group that offers a more intensive dance experience and does require auditions. Despite being entirely student-orchestrated, Adagio’s “Dance Everywhere!” was a polished, thoughtfully organized and well-executed event full of talent and a great deal of enthusiasm.
Levin began to fill well in advance of the show’s start time, bringing in a large crowd of students as well as dancers’ family members and other supporters. A blank white background on the stage promised exciting light displays and movement that would speak for itself. A slideshow of photos of senior E-board members, each with a baby picture and a current picture, honored the efforts of these students even before the show began.
To kick off the evening and to facilitate the transitions between dances, emcees Rebecca Kahn ’19 and Darrow Palast ’19 took to the mics at the back of the room, offering up the classic cheesy and terrible jokes and puns that are expected of two emcees, bringing the audience both amusement and mild discomfort.
The first dance, “Sail,” choreographed by Julie Joseph ’18, began the night with a piece by the Dance Ensemble that instantly set the bar high. Dance Ensemble member Linda Wang ’19 stunned with carefully executed ballet-style motions as we journeyed with her through what appeared to be an intense nightmare. Her accompanying dancers seemed to emerge from this nightmare, influencing Wang’s tormented yet graceful movements. A simple prop of a pillow instantly set the scene minimally, while the choreography took the audience on a journey.
One crowd favorite of the night was “Dance Party,” choreographed by Brianna Silverman ’19 and Akshiti Todi ’19, consisting of many dancers dressed in flannel button-downs and other casual clothing that added to the atmosphere of a great big party. From the start, the dance elicited huge amounts of cheering from the audience as dancers introduced a fun and light set of pop songs that brought a nice change of pace to the evening.
Just as with “Dance Party,” the other choreography generated by underclassmen was simply astounding. All choreographers struck me as successful in getting their vision across on the stage and in formulating new and exciting movements. However, I have to give special attention to the works of first- and second-year students who amazed me with their contributions to the program.
“Found,” by Liv Molho ’20 was a simple but beautiful dance that said a lot with a little, allowing the elegance of the dancers to stand out with clean and effortless motions, rather than with flashy moves or overly challenging staging. “715 Creeks,” choreographed by David Dropkin ’20 was innovative in its incorporation of stomping into the dance, which was the only routine to introduce a sonic element to the dancers’ stage presence. The final dance of the evening, “Define,” was performed by the Dance Ensemble and choreographed by Sara Langtry ’20, who had the dancers tumbling, rolling and leaping across the stage in another crowd favorite. The dancers brought her vision to light in an energetic and upbeat number that I can only imagine was exhausting after the two-hour show. These were only a few of the truly stunning works in which underclassmen took a leadership role.
The evening was a diverse array of performances, from large groups to small, hip-hop to ballet, love ballads to pop songs. In addition to the diversity in dance styles, there was also some variation in the thematic approaches of different choreographers and dancers. For example, one theme of the night seemed to be overcoming obstacles and persevering through hardship, as seen in “Stop This Train,” choreographed by Lisa Petrie ’17 (layout editor of The Brandeis Hoot), “Unsteady,” choreographed by Rachel Moore ’19, and “Stronger Still,” choreographed by Amanda Ehrmann ’18. Another poignant theme was relaxing, having fun and releasing energy through movement, as seen in “Chasing the Stars,” choreographed by Amanda Ehrmann ’18 and Frankie Marchan ’19, “Absolute,” choreographed by Susannah Miller ’19, and “Meghan Madness,” a fun and lively ode to Meghan Trainor choreographed by Jacquie Zenou ’20.
While I cannot give adequate attention to each performance piece, the evening was a great success from start to finish. I left amazed by the incredible student effort that results in the densely packed and lengthy show of many, many great dances. These hard-working dancers, some of whom danced in 10 or more pieces, should all be proud of their hard work and dedication. And given the young talent evidenced in this year’s performance, Brandeis is sure to see great shows from Adagio in the semesters to come.