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To acquire wisdom, one must observe

A night filled with stars: an overview of the Adagio showcase

Another year passed and another highly anticipated Adagio Dance Company Showcase graced and amazed us in Levin Ballroom on Sunday, April 7. The theater was decorated with bright twinkling lights and the entrance had red tinsel curtains hanging from the door frame inviting you into the Hollywood theme from the moment you walk into the room. While there were 17 dances that are all deserving of praise, I will only be discussing the ones that I felt most drawn to and remain in my memory at the time of writing this article. 

The show opened with a performance of the song “Confident” by Demi Lovato featuring all the Adagio E-board members Athena Lam ’25, Hannah Pearlman ’24, Christina Lin ’25, Elizabeth Liu ’26, Sophia Lombardi ’26, Linting Ma ’27 and Irina Znamirowski ’24. They wore variations of black outfits with sparkle details which added a nice touch to the strong presence of their dance moves. I particularly enjoyed the section where they danced in a line with their hands on each other’s backs while strutting in unison. The dance was described as blending jazz and contemporary elements which, with my minimal understanding of dance, I felt was conveyed through their choreography choices and presented as more strong and powerful than one would expect from those genres. Especially since this was their last performance as the current E-board members, this dance was a great way to honor their work both in this individual dance and through their commitment to putting the Adagio Showcase together. 

One point of the show that was particularly awe-inspiring was their ability to showcase dances from several different genres and cultures. While I have seen the commercials about the Shen Yun performances in Boston, this was my first time witnessing traditional Chinese dance off the screen, and in full. The outfits for this performance were unique from any other dance in the show and greatly enhanced the dance through the fabric’s effervescent movements. The dresses were a peachy-orange color with green/teal accents and floral adornments. I don’t have a knowledge of the Tang Dynasty personally, however, the description of the era was that it encapsulated elegance and prosperity, both of which could be easily felt through this performance. The choreographers, Lin and Skye Lu ’27, deserve high praise for what became a perfectly syncopated, masterfully executed and artistically inspired dance that felt as if we were teleported straight to the Tang Dynasty. 

Since I had never been to an Adagio performance before, I didn’t know that there were several groups invited to perform along with the main Adagio crew including another dance with a cultural influence by Chak De—Brandeis’ Bollywood fusion dance team. What struck me most about this performance was that it was much faster than many of the dances we had seen at this point in the show. Not only did the dancers seem to move from one position to another in an instant but they also maintained their movements in perfect unison. Although I understand why the group would alternate between Indian music and pop songs to show the different capabilities of their club, I wish that the music switched between tracks less and had more of a focus on one song at a time. Since it was more staggered, many of the dances felt unfinished and therefore unfulfilled in the allotted time. Otherwise, their performance was definitely one of my favorites and I look forward to seeing them again at other events to come.

Three dances that captured the fun and personality of Adagio were “Honey,” “Treasure” and “Standing Next to You.” Honey highlighted queer love and was one of the few dances that showed the performers dancing in pairs rather than one synchronized formation. Although the costuming wasn’t very exciting with brown pants and black shirts, this choice allowed for the delicate and emotion-filled dancing to shine through. Elienne Grossman ’26, a two-year member of Adagio, discussed her feelings on the performance, “I liked it a lot, all the dancers were really energetic and supportive of each other. Each rehearsal was really fun and we were all excited to learn Sophia’s choreography.” When I asked her how it felt during the performance she said, “It was perfect! We hit pretty much everything and it was one of our best run-throughs of the piece.” “Treasure” was the most playful of all the dances at the showcase. The sparkly outfits with a red theme were fun to track and they danced their way across the stage. The dancers in this song are all new to Adagio, and some are beginners to dancing at all. I actually found out this fact after the show and was surprised since I had no indication of their inexperience throughout their performance. “Standing Next to You” was most memorable for its jazzy flare including white gloves and pinstripe vests. The audience had a great reaction to these dancers and they were very animated while dancing along to this catchy tune. Cierra Choy ’26, a dancer in this piece, felt the same way while adding her appreciation for choreographer and graduating senior Pearlman. “Standing next to you was a really fun and groovy dance and it was bittersweet to be a part of it because it was Hannah’s last dance with Adagio.” I most enjoyed the section where they took off their gloves and threw them towards the audience, while it took away from the “following a ‘Just Dance’ level vibe,” it did bring the energy to the room and put the enjoyment of the dancers on full display.

Speaking of quintessential Adagio performances, who can forget the “Heathers” tribute performance, choreographed by the night’s most featured dancer and senior E-board member, Znamirowski. First things first, what an awesome idea for a performance. Musicals are always engaging but it was an unexpected delight to see one brought to life in a dance showcase. The outfits were perfectly reminiscent of the original material and the individual colors of each dancer were used effectively to indicate different characters and changes in the plot as the story unfolded. I can’t even imagine how much intricate detail-oriented thinking went into this performance and it certainly paid off. My only critique was that it was far longer than any other performance in the show and had many faux endings. While I do think it is important to highlight the most relevant sections of the musical to bring the story to life, merging choruses of songs or sticking to a maximum of three would have enhanced the piece.

Some brief shoutouts to the Ballet Club which brought me back to my childhood fantasies of untouchable elegance in bouncing tutus, “Honey (Are you coming?)” for a fantastically risky song choice and a great expression of “anger and helplessness as college students,” and “Devil” for making sure I was still awake … and a little scared, in a good way. I also had my first experience watching KAOS in their guest performance titled “Night Out” which took my breath away, both in the speed and skill of their dancers and in the rather explicit sexual connotations of their movement in front of what I think were students’ grandparents …

Grossman also shed some light on the hard work of people behind the scenes to bring this show to life, “We usually have our dress rehearsal the day before the show but, due to another event, they [the E-board] had to set up later than usual on Saturday, staying there until 2-3 a.m. the morning of and returning around 8 a.m. to finish up decorations.” It’s amazing to think of how dedicated the E-board and other members of Adagio are to having their show be the best it can be, even if they weren’t able to put up all their decorations or get enough sleep, the show must go on.

As someone who didn’t think of themselves as the type to enjoy a dance show, despite appreciating the difficult act that is dancing (trust me you do not want me up there next year), I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed the experience and how quickly the time flew by. I asked one of the E-board members, Lombardi, about what it is like to watch the show from her perspective, “It’s just fun to see all of the dances come together. During the semester, you just get to see the dances you’re a part of so it’s great to just sit back and appreciate the work everyone’s done.” When asked about the future of the club and their next performance she replied, “We have a lot of new choreographers so I’m excited to see their style develop next year. And to see everyone have fun on the stage again.” 

I would highly recommend anyone with the smallest inkling of attending the show to stop by next year and bring their friends.

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