I am sure many of us like to blast our latest iTunes playlists and dance around the room. I know at least I do. Though I am not the best dancer, there are many great dancers in Ballet Performance Group. This past Friday, BPG held its semester show in Strong Auditorium titled, ‘Forever on the Dance Floor.” A befitting title, the performers were forever entrancing the audience with their graceful choreography each time they hit the stage.
One of the highlights of the show was the reminder that Disney is still relevant. The opening number was based on the song, ‘He Lives in You,” from ‘The Lion King II” soundtrack. Different groups of BPG dancers entered and left the stage in various colorful getups until the entire ensemble was on the floor a powerful finish that set the stage for the rest of the show. ‘The Lion King” would make another appearance later on in the show in the ‘Pridelands” number, and, as an avid ‘Lion King” fan, I was more than satisfied with the incorporation of childhood songs in a college performance show.
Following the childhood throwback, the group performed pieces from the genre of dance it is more obviously known for ballet. Choreographed by adviser Pamela Wilkens-White, the dancers put their ballet slippers to the test as they presented to the audience various selections from one of, if not the most, well-known ballets ‘Swan Lake.” The first piece, ‘Czardas,” was a Hungarian folk piece, and the dancers performed in Hungarian-esque garb.
The next piece, ‘Tarantella,” was unique. Featuring tambourines, it was upbeat, and the performers were able to execute the instrumental part while simultaneously performing the correct steps. They were obviously given the gift of coordination.
Of course, you cannot have a BPG show without the use of the tutu. In ‘White Swans and Black Swans,” the ballerinas gracefully maneuvered across the stage, truly embodying the bird for which the piece is named.
After the well-done classical pieces, there was a change of pace. The beat dropped, ‘Please Don’t Stop the Music” was amplified, the ensemble began booty dancing and the audience hyped up. By the time the stage lights were turned off to end the piece and the first half of the show, many of the audience members did not want the dance party to end, but the performers needed to catch a breath and audience members needed a stretch break.
Act II provided a much larger variety of pieces. Showing us that ballet is not their only forte, the dancers performed a break dance number titled ‘Four Lessons.” Dressed in hip-hop-style gear, there were people not only doing the basic top rock step but also showcasing their athletic capabilities, incorporating some flips into the mix.
The BPG dancers also tried to push the envelope in one of their pieces, ‘I’ve Got Dreams to Remember.” Highlighted by the two couples that sensually resisted and embraced their partners under the frustrations of love, the ensemble definitely did Otis Redding proud.
Other highlights of the show included a tap number as well as an African dance, with many of the dancers wrapped in a traditional clothes.
As with all good things, the BPG show inevitably had to end, but not without a final number. Featuring choreography just as strong, if not stronger, than the opener, ‘I Believe,” by Yolanda Adams closed the show fantastically.
Though they are known as Ballet Performance Group, the group showcased other styles of dance that one might not associate with its name. The versatility shown was unquestionable, and I am sure I, as well as many others, will be looking forward to the next show in the spring.
Massie is a member of the class of 2011.