‘Collective’ floods the stage with creative choreography

The Channels Arts Pages | STAFF REVIEW

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Jazmyne Cushenberry

Dancers, Natalie Almond, Emma Burgis, Carisa Carroll, Kaycee Jannino, Gillian Micale, Jayde Pickles and Cheyne West, perform Metamorphosis, to the song ‘Metamorphosis II’ by Philip Glass during a dress rehearsal for the dance show ‘Collective,’ on Thursday, April 17. The routine is choreographed by Tracey Kofford, a City College dance instructor.

ANNA LOGAN, Channels Staff

The lights dimmed and the chatter ceased. Darkness overcame the theater as the sound of bare feet trickled onto the stage as ‘Collective’ began.

Center Stage Theater was host to City College’s spring dance concert on Friday, April 18.The evening encompassed dance pieces that were eloquently delivered by students and local dance companies.

The concert, ‘Collective,’ stayed true to its name as the show exhibited different collaborations of jazz, ballet and modern dance pieces. The dancers ebbed and flowed as they told unique stories with every limb of their body in front of a packed theater.

These stories were told without paper and pencil, but instead, with flicks of the leg and bending of the spine. If you watch closely, these motions start to make sense.

The first piece of the show was choreographed by Brooklyn Melton, assistant artistic director, and showcased a somber melody with two half-naked bodies. The piece was called “Breath,” but I took the liberty of crossing this out and writing, “love story.”

The female dancer clamored after the male dancer, unsure of every extension she made towards his way. It was a sad yet beautiful piece; I couldn’t take my eyes away.

Personal interpretation, as I did with Melton’s piece, is part of the beauty within dance. But one piece told the story on it’s own when it incorporated narration over dimmed music, while dancers emphasized it’s meaning.

The piece “Something Unknown” was supplemented by narration that spoke of Gillian Lynne, a British ballerina who is noted for her choreography in the musical “Cats.” The narrator spoke of how Lynne was taken to the doctor when she was younger because her mother thought she had a problem.

Lynne’s only problem: she had a raging passion to dance.

The dancer’s elaborate movements made the narrators story come to life– every word had a corresponding position. They made sense of the narration through body configurations. If that’s not beautiful, I’m skeptical as to what is.

One of the more upbeat performances of the show came from student choreographer Taylor Pettis. Entitled “The Urge,” the swiftness of the choreography made audience members wish they were a dancer.

The performers moved quickly and effectively. The piece could have been a blur due to its range in movements, but was communicated gracefully with sharp leaps and pirouettes.

The UCSB Student Dance Company came after Pettis’ piece as they overwhelmed the stage with an army of dancers. The group performed to music by Phillip Glass and danced as a synchronized unit throughout the piece.

A dancer would often break from the pack and dance solo and unsynchronized from the group; the visual was perfectly imperfect.

One of the most unique performances was the piece “Cardinal Sin.” E. Lewis, City College faculty choreographer, put together a performance that had the crowd laughing hysterically.

Four dancers with chef coats and hats verbally told the crowd how to bake a special type of cake while using their bodies as the baking ingredients. The dancers nailed their lines as they stretched their bodies out like rolled dough.

Collective’s dancers and choreographers put together a show that was entertaining and exciting to watch. Tracy Kofford, artistic director, put on an event that speaks to the creativity of City College’s dance department.