Louvre Performance Ensemble presented its annual fall production “Shaped” this past Saturday.

Made up of seasoned dancers with backgrounds in ballet, jazz, and contemporary styles, the ensemble’s mission is to “promote the artistry and creative integrity of choreography and dance, as well as to bridge the University of Rochester community with a larger network of performing artists.”

I should preface this review by admitting my background in dance is severely limited. Well, it’s actually nonexistent unless you count that one time I tried ballet in the third grade. Needless to say, I came to the show not really knowing what to expect.

The Spurrier Dance Studio was packed by the time I arrived. The tagline description of the show was, “to explore how interpersonal relationships shape our lives.”

Most dance shows I’ve been to have lacked a clear storyline, which dampens the experience for someone like me who doesn’t want to have to interpret all the choreography.

“Shaped” went beyond my expectations by formatting the show in a specific series of themes — romance, insecurity, learning, survival, control, healing, competition, and finally love.

Portraying these various elements of relationships, the ensemble stayed energized throughout the entire show. The one component of Louvre’s production I really appreciated was how the story was guided through poems and audio clips at the beginning of each dance.

The featured audio clips felt vulnerable and provided touching revelations about the way relationships serve as an anchor and can change a person’s perception.

Opening with a lighthearted dance with the ensemble dressed all in pink, the dancers conveyed feelings of romance with unabashed grins and the peppy “ILYSB” (I Love You So Bad) backing the movements.

The dancers did a superb job of transitioning between tracks, with the entire team quickly moving to the sides of the stage just behind the curtain to change outfits for each song. The atmosphere shifted dramatically after the first song with Sia’s “Breathe Me” to express feelings of insecurity in relationships.

With pale blue sparkling attire the dancers’ movements were drawn out and expressions grim, exuding a feeling of melancholy. Next came the topic of learning in relationships with the Freelance Whale’s “Generator First Floor” playing.

With a brief intermission to allow the dancers time to breathe, the second half took a darker turn with the portrayal of controlling relationships. Dressed in black, the dancers told a story of conflict by knocking each other to the floor one-by-one until only two remained.

I thought this song brought out the most emotion and expression from the performers. Ending on a high note, love was the last overarching theme to be displayed with the song “Nuvole Bianche” playing as a last impression.

A well-balanced show with obviously gifted performers, “Shaped” was a success with just the right amount of emotional vulnerability to leave me feeling quite reflective by the end.



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