Louvre’s artful performance, “Seven,” is a fascinating journey that portrays the biblical seven deadly sins through expertly choreographed group dance routines.

For UR students who have ever wondered what an intruiging, artistic representation of a descent into hell looks like, last weekend Spurrier Hall was the place to find out.

On Saturday, Nov. 13, and Sunday, Nov. 14, the Louvre Performance Ensemble presented its original production, “Seven,” detailing one woman’s journey through a fiery inferno.

The storyline of “Seven” is structured around the seven deadly sins in the Bible, each of which the main character must face in order to earn passage out of hell and into heaven. Relying somewhat on spoken passages, but mainly on dancing to relay the narrative, the plot line is surprisingly accessible.

The heroine of the story (danced by guest performer UR almuna Libby Miga ’10) confronts seven different demons who construct challenges based on their particular sin. After each duet portion between the demon and the protagonist, a group dance followed.

It was in these larger dances that Louvre shone. Based on one of the seven deadly sins, each dance embodied a different idea through movement. The end result was a show with great thematic breadth — it was thrilling in its diverse movement categories, and was tons of fun.

The show opened after an introduction with the sin of pride, which was an audacious, large-scale dance that served as an effective opener to grip the audience’s attention.

The choice to use a live band in conjunction with recorded tracks was a smart decision, especially taking into account the skill of the quartet from the Eastman School of Music, who deserve to be recognized. Audience members such as junior Will Finnie made a point after the show of complimenting the “great music.”

The night continued on with the next sin of sultry, slinky lust creeping off the stage and into the seats where the performers interacted with the audience. One dancer in particular ran her fingers through a man’s hair, then shoved his head aside before returning to the stage.

The standout portions of the night came during the group dances for gluttony and greed. In gluttony, wearing sheer purple tops, the dancers started out on the floor writhing and clutching their stomachs. The pace soon picked up with sharp percussive movements and began to crescendo with the music and the dance, reaching a climax during a series of stunning fouette turns as the dancers spun round and round. The momentum of the piece registered on a gut level that left even the non-initiated to dance satisfied.

Following gluttony, greed was a deliciously sinful dance creatively laid out with the dancers fighting over a golden scarf. The Arabian theme, while maybe not breaking negative cultural stereotypes, hearkened back to childhood tales of Arabian nights and sultans with mountains of gold. It was the most fun dance of the night.

But what stood out more than steps or even choreography was the commitment of the dancers. This was the true magic of Louvre. Revealing moments, such as when one dancer looked longingly at the golden scarf during the dance for greed, seemingly unchoreographed, brought “Seven” to life.

Senior Ahmad Rehmani, captain of the UR Bhangra team, during intermission said the show was “absolutely incredible.” He expressed that the dancers seemed to “feel” the steps and how “every single one of them are really, really into the show.”

Alumna Noelle Miller ’10 was most notable for her expression and easily one of the standout solo performers of the night. At any point during the show one could rely on her facial expressions to perfectly match the tone of the dance. An underlying intensity and anger came through her eyes as well, reminding the audience that they were dealing with demons.

The group as a whole carried the performance, however. No matter which dancer an audience member might have chosen to watch on stage, the experience would have been satisfying.

In both technical skill and performance Louvre carries no dead weight. Rehearsing 10-12 hours a week can do that. “Our bodies do get pretty beat up,” Louvre President and senior Sami Johnson said. But Louvre was founded on the principle of creating “a small group of advanced, technically trained dancers” to bring dance to UR.

A fledgling group in only its second year, Louvre seems set to have an impact on the campus, and one might already say they have surpassed existing groups.

“Watching this group go from absolutely nothing to where we are now is mind blowing and we intend to only grow from here,” Johnson said.

Time will tell if Louvre can live up to their full potential, as they didn’t satisfy everyone with “Seven.” One woman in the audience criticized the music and choreography.

But she qualified her statement by saying she is “used to watching the Rochester City Ballet.”

Louvre certainly is not the Rochester City Ballet, but it might just be one of the best ensembles at UR.

Mitchell is a member of the class of 2013

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