By Alisa Samadani, Staff Writer Originally published in Issue 7, Volume 32 of The University Register on Friday, December 6, 2019

Dance Ensemble held their debut performance of the academic year, “Hit the Lights,” in Edson Auditorium on Friday, November 22. There were a total of three performances, Friday at 1 p.m., Saturday at 1p.m., and again at 7 p.m. This year’s show was performed in classic dance ensemble fashion. It featured energized, upbeat music mixed with lyrical and emotional pieces.

Like most of the performance, “Wicked Ones” was an energetic piece, though the energy came not solely from the music but also from the dancers’ ability to perform the complex choreography in high heels. Although dancing in heels is an incredibly difficult task, the dancers brought Wyatt Anderson’s choreography to life in an impressive and graceful manner.

“Big Bang Swing” was just as energetic as the rest of the show, but was a different style than most of the other dances. It was a swing piece, and highlighted one pair of dancers at a time performing technically challenging moves while the rest of the ensemble danced in the background. Unlike most other dances, which had one or two students acting as choreographers, this swing performance allowed all of the dancers to choreograph part of the piece. Jamin Stagg and Kerri Mueller choreographed the segment of the dance where all of the couples danced together on stage, but each couple was able to choreograph their own highlighted segment of the dance. This performance’s change of genre in music and heavy inclusion of aerials fit the high energy of the night while contrasting to the style of the rest of the show.

“Reclaim Our Bodies” showcased dancers responding to the lyrics rather than solely the beat of the song. The dancers began the piece wearing scarves which seemed to represent the pressure to conform to a socially acceptable version of femininity. As the song spoke of self love and women’s tendencies to develop self-harming behavior as a result of believing that their bodies are flawed, the dancers threw their scarves to the floor. Anna Jackson choreographed the dance beautifully, combining the art of dance and the powerful message of the music to create an emotional piece. This dance was more sensual and less upbeat, and portrayed a message of finding beauty within our own bodies regardless of the societal expectations thrust upon them.

Overall, “Hit The Lights” was a highly energetic and well-choreographed show. It encapsulated the upbeat mood expected from a Dance Ensemble performance and was clearly a product of hard work and dedication from both the dancers and choreographers.