The lights dim, the curtains part and all one can hear is the muted thud of dancers’ feet running across the stage. Then, out of the darkness, a strip of white stage appears, illuminating five dancers dressed in black.
This is the beginning of the final student dance performance of the year, Modern Senior Concert Two. With works that vary from the somber and beautiful to the humorous and weird, it is a showcase without any real unifying theme. Except, of course, celebrating the graduating class and their years of hard work and pushing the boundaries for what dance can be.
It’s a show that constantly subverts the viewer’s expectations. The first two dances, which rely heavily on the use of silhouettes and convey a feeling of anger and sadness, are immediately followed by a sweet, romantic duet between two female dancers. After that, the show switches gears again into a standout comedic piece.
This performance, which falls right before intermission, is one of the highlights of the show. Resembling nothing more than a trio of friends messing around backstage, it is easy to mistake this well-choreographed routine as a mistake. But this piece, filled with memorable instances of dancers challenging each other to “swim” across the stage, beatboxing and general goofing around, is anything but.
Like all of the pieces, this strange but wonderful performance is choreographed by students in the department, making this show just as much about the choreographers and their achievements as it is about the dancers themselves.
The show is also marked by a fantastic and varied use of lighting effects, so much so that the lights appear to be characters unto themselves in the performances. The blank slate of the show’s white floor and backdrop allows the choreographers to use the stage to its fullest capacity, adding moving squares of bright light that keep the dancers always in silhouette and orange and red backdrops that resembles a rising sun.
One piece following intermission in particular reflects the ways in which lighting adds another layer of interest to the dancers’ movements. However, in the beginning of the piece the lighting is bright, and flashes multiple times, so those with sensitive eyesight may want to close theirs for the introduction of the piece.
Modern Senior Concert Two kicks off Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. and plays at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. All performances at the Marriott Center for Dance are free to students with a valid UCard.