Student Dance Concert Review

Abigail J. Fallon | Lindenlink Reporter

Lindenwood University’s Student Dance Concert opened Thursday February 14th at 7:30pm in the J. Scheidegger Center’s Emerson Black Box Theater. The show consisted of 12 student-produced routines which combined ballet, hip-hop, lyrical, and more into one action-packed performance.

Act I began with “Goddesses Gone Rogue” by Erika Bibas, which was a lyrical dance with an upbeat pulse. The “gods” and “goddesses” were barefoot with beautiful, flowing togas, creating a visual that drew the audience in immediately.

Photo by Romain Polge
Photo by Romain Polge

The second dance was a slower-paced modern dance called “As the Grip Loosens”. It brought something entirely different to the table with minimalistic costumes a tortured, personal theme. The use of breath, where the performers synchronized heavy exhalations with their movements was a highlight to this performance. This allowed the plot to reach the audience in a fresh, new way, causing us to feel the mental torment of what  is imagined to be a person suffering from multiple personalities disorder.

The third dance was a cute, modern dance entitled “Call Me”. It was a typical story of boy meets girl, except that as the girl comes onto the boy, she is repeatedly rejected, sometimes being thrown around the stage. She was literally throwing herself at him, creating a funny and unexpected narrative that quickly became the audience’s favorite part of the concert.

“Absence of Presence”, dance number four, was much sadder, with the star dancer in a red shirt and the rest in black. This dance, although well performed, had a more stereotypical theme than the ones before it.

The audience saw the influence of ballet the most with the next dance, “Crystallize”, a beautiful ensemble with more traditional costumes that were modernized with lace and sequin detail.  The traditional-meets-modern theme was supported by the song, which was Lindsey Stirling’s violin dub step sensation “Crystallize”.

The final dance in Act I, “Travels of the Heart; Beat in the Music”, can only be described as a pop-lock-and-drop-it ballet. The dancers were dressed in trashbag-like pants and ribbed tank tops, which did not match the song or much of the choreography. But the dancers’ timing was spot-on, and the boot-clogging brought it to life.

Act II began with another favorite, “A Prior Engagement”. The dance follows two lovers who are all hearts and flowers until she finds out that he is married. The plot thickens as his wife is shown rallying her girlfriends, and both women eventually kick him to the curb. The costumes were fresh: chambray shirts with black shorts or leggings on each of the girls. The back-up dancers were wearing red Rosie the Riveter-esque bandanas, with the girlfriend in white and the wife in blue. The attention to detail here was clear while Kimbra’s “Settle Down” and “Plain Gold Ring” made for the perfect backdrop to a great, female-empowering story.

Photo by Romain Polge

The eighth dance ensemble was called “Unleashed”, and, without coincidence, performed to the Lord of the Rings song “Isengard Unleashed”. It was arguably the most dramatic installment of the Student Dance Concert. The choreographer was smart to include a marching formation; the dance really moved and occupied every corner of the stage. It certainly was an attention grabber, but cleaner costume lines would have brought it home.

The next dance, “TiaRA!” was a super relevant beauty pageant-themed number. It centered around a winning beauty queen and her envious competitors who fight tooth and nail to take her crown away. The dancers employed both humor and just the right kind of nasty. They made use of the curtains to form entrances and exits, creating a whirlwind of a show that kept me laughing to the very end.

“Miracles Happen”, which was dance number ten, was gymnastic in execution and arguably the most avant-garde of the ensembles. The dancers had bright socks that they cast off toward the end, which created a really cool visual.

The penultimate performance, “I’d Tap That”, was, as the title suggests, a tap dance. It was fun and brave as the dance went to acapella.

The final dance was the big blowout. Set to a fierce dubstep mix of classic video game theme songs, the dance opened with an obsessed gamer who gets sucked into the screen. The costumes consisted an eclectic mix of geometric neon tops, harem pants, and old school sneakers, which could not have been better suited to the theme. The Wreck-It-Ralph-like plot unfolds from there, finalizing the Student Dance Concert with the most appropriate move: a Mario jump.