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MIT's stylish Dance Troupe still growing

Tiffany Lin--The Tech
Jullallan Weber '00 took center stage during Dance Troupe's performance of "The Crow" as part of the group's fall show Movement With Exclamation.

Movement with exclamation

Dance Troupe.

Nov. 22, 23, and 24.

Little Kresge Auditorium.

By Kimberly A. Knowles
Staff Reporter

Dance Troupe has impressed MIT in the last year with its impressive talent as well as its huge growth. It is easily the largest performing arts group on campus, attracting sellout crowds at each performance. This season's show was no exception.

The quality continues to grow, partly a result from the new theater arts course that combines lighting design with the staging of dances. Each dance was paired with a student in the course, and together the choreographer and lighting student created a vision for each dance. The result was a show that boasted impressive lighting in addition to the usual talent that has become a trademark of Dance Troupe. In particular, strobe lighting and black light were used to enhance the visual drama.

Also notable were parental advisory notices in the program, warning of material potentially unsuitable for young children. The notices referred to explicit lyrics in the music as well as mildly graphic sexual poses, all of which show Dance Troupe's willingness to push the limits. As usual, the costumes were impressive - even more elaborate than in the past - as the troupe shows its growing support.

The opening dance was impressive: The music was the Mission: Impossible theme, the dancers wore trench coats, and the lighting was awesome. Choreographed by Stephanie Sharo '99, the dance was mysterious and fluid and included acrobatic stunts performed by Alex Sindt '99. The lighting design by Yuying Chen '97 included strobe effects, black light, a moon, and striking transitions of color.

One experimental dance called "Who Needs Music?" was offered by choreographer Christina Schofield and featured tap dancing with no background music, as the title suggests, but rather the dancers moving with independent beats and intertwining rhythms.

Van C. Van '97 had a lot to live up to following last year's "Mortal Kombat," but he showed himself to be a master choreographer once again as he presented "Smooth Criminal," a classic Michael Jackson 1980s song. The costuming was consistent with Michael Jackson's bad boy image, and the choreography included fast-paced action as well as the requisite crotch-grabbing.

This was followed by a fantastically surreal dance called " and the frogs will DIE" by Ljos Molnar '97 and Chen, which featured happy frogs that are attacked by vampires while flowers look on. The dance presents the image of springtime infused with evil. The music - "Urma", from the Cirque du Soleil - provided suitable craziness, and lighting by Andrew Russell '97 supported the fantasy world imagery.

Makeup played a large role in the closing dance of Act I, "Inferno," which was a gothic style dance complete with white-faced inhabitants of hell, amplified by the use of black lighting. Collaborative efforts by Chen, Haixia Lin '99, and Van for choreography and Scott Uebelhart resulted in a truly disturbing spectacle, featuring a stellar performance by Fernando Padilla '99 as a tortured soul longing for escape from hell's inferno.

The second act opened with a typical funky rock, this time a high energy dance to Prince's "P-Control," which came with a parental advisory notice. The dance, choreographed by Janice Chen '97 with lighting by Padilla, was another sexy, high-attitude performance, again supported by colorful and striking lighting.

Originality and experimentation seemed to exemplify the whole show but especially the second act. From the tribal dance "Kodo," by Alex Sindt, to "Goldberg Variations," which featured excerpts from a number of musical sources and choreographed by the dancers themselves, to "Suburbia: And Vacuous Smiling Faces Held Illimitable Dominion Over All," by Mary Krasovec G, which is exactly what the title says it is, the range of new and different dances was refreshing.

Another notable dance, titled "Away" and choreographed by Carol Cheung '98 with lighting designed by Richard Marcus, truly exemplified the joyousness and energy expressed in the music, Enya's "Book of Days." The cool green costumes combined with creative lighting presented the image of lightness, as if the dancers were twirling in the clouds. It was truly a masterful piece.

Dance Troupe consistently presents stellar performances, making MIT students into performing arts stars and bringing weekends of energy, style, and creative fun to campus. This weekend was no exception.