March 10, 2010

From the Street to the Stage

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They hustled to “The Hustle.” They pushed it to “Push It.” They did what ever it is that people do to “Bad Romance.” In a flash mob dance yesterday afternoon in front of the Schwartz Center, the cast of Dance, Drama and the Disco of Desire promoted their show for passerbys in Collegetown. As one woman walking by summed up into her cell phone, “there are people dancing and they’re awesome!”

Dance is this year’s annual main stage dance show at the Schwartz. Co-Directed by senior lecturer Jim Self, dance, and dance majors Virginia Cromwell ’10 and Alexandra Harlig ’10, this show is the first time students have stepped up to direct a main stage dance performance. “While there have been a lot of students in the past who collaborate,” said Cromwell, “its unique that the two of us have had such a large role in directing this year.”

The show is broken up into three distinct sections. The first is the Dance, a competition featuring different groups doing various street dances, including popping and locking. Next, the cast goes into a dreamscape sequence featuring modern dance, the Drama. The show culminates at the Disco of Desire, a club space that features contemporary music and dances.

Cast members also cited the opportunity to work with a range of dancers as enticement to try out for the show. “There are some people in the cast who have been dancing since they got out of the womb, while some just started at Cornell,” said Talia Siegel ’13. As cast member Naijia Huang ’05 MBA ’11, who performs with student dance group Absolute Zero, put it, “No single group on campus could have put this together.” As if to display this diversity, this is the first Schwartz Center show for both dancers.

Similarly, all dancers interviewed referenced a strong sense of cast as one of the strongest elements of the performance. According to dancers, members of the cast spend equal amounts of time on stage, all performing the same dances with the same music. This led to a tight bond between the dancers that should be evident for the audience.

The audience will also note the accessibility of the material performed. Cromwell, who has been involved with every dance show since her freshman year, said Dance is more relatable to student body. “It takes music, dancing and social interactions that everyone experiences when they go out and pushes them further,” she said. “Its fun, but still modern and pushing the envelope.”

Original Author: Peter Jacobs