While I can’t tell a sashay from a plié, by all accounts, this semester’s show from the Adagio Dance Company, “Take a Chance on Dance,” demonstrated a vibrant, supportive arts community on campus.
The 18 dances included performances to songs such as “I Like It” by Cardi B, “Streetcar” by Daniel Cesar, “Believer” by Imagine Dragons and Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers.” Personally, I think the idea of putting yourself on stage and performing a routine you’ve practiced for dozens of hours sounds terrifying, but the dedication, craft and confidence of the dancers and choreographers was obvious. From the wholehearted (though cheesy) emceeing, to the applause and cheers of encouragement the performers received after their dances, it was obvious that the broader Brandeis dance community is incredibly positive and validating—a model example of how arts on campus should be.
Standouts for me were “Streetcar,” choreographed by Hannah Ableman ’21, with the dancers’ notable coordination and the stark visual contrast of their light grey dresses on the white-lit background, “Liability,” choreographed by Liv Molho ’20, particularly with its performers demonstrating their circling movements with an athletic grace, and “Silence,” arranged by Meghana Reddy ’21, with the dancers in white costumes with bright red socks and their staggered movements being memorable.
Adagio also includes a Dance Ensemble, an audition-only group within Adagio Dance Company, which opened both acts and closed the show. Dance Ensemble stands out for its advanced technique, movement control and coordination between dancers. Their final number, “Bring on the Men,” choreographed by Hannah Suib ’19, was a striking performance that allowed dancers their chance in the spotlight before all coming back together in upbeat, fun choreography.
In addition to Adagio dances, the show included guest performances from Hooked on Tap and the Ballet Club. I found ProtoHype Dance Crew, a UMASS Lowell dance troupe, to be particularly outstanding. Their coordination, sense of rhythm, energy and pacing were different and refreshing from the general style of the other performances.
The lighting production was executed well throughout, with a variety of effects that accentuated the dances. I especially enjoyed the way the light colors would be split over half the stage, adding additional contrast to the mood of the piece.
Adagio Co-Presidents Akshiti Todi ’19 and Rachel Moore ’19 were gracious enough to answer a few questions I had about the process. From their answers, it became incredibly clear how much work went into the roughly 90-minute show. Their responses have been edited for clarity.
Akshiti Todi detailed the process for producing a dance: “Our final pieces that are displayed on stage are a product of a lot of hard work and dedication by our executive board, choreographers and dancers.” Choreographers and dancers get the chance to separately audition and then be placed by preference into various pieces. “We also plan a lot during the semester,” said Todi, “But in the end, it’s worth it because we have a great show, and some really awesome choreographers that are compatible with their dancers (and vice versa)!”
I also asked the two co-directors what the most rewarding parts of their job were. Rachel Moore responded that, “The most rewarding part of this role has been seeing the show come together during tech week. It starts as 18 separate pieces but becomes one show; as the week progresses, Levin Ballroom is transformed into our performance space, complete with backdrop and marley, the lighting and music come together (thank you, SPS), the costumes go on, and the dances look better than ever as the dancers feel and create this intensifying energy that develops as the show gets closer. It’s truly so rewarding to see a physical manifestation of all the hard work we, as a company, put in—it’s right there, in front of us!”
“As co-president, the most rewarding part of my job,” said Todi, “without a doubt is the people I get to meet and work with. The dancers who are a part of Adagio are passionate and supportive and inspire me in many ways.”
For those interested in joining for next semester, Moore says that, “People can become involved as dancers or choreographers; we will be holding dancer placements and choreographer auditions early next semester. We welcome dancers with all types of dance experience!”