Dance Club Entertains and Inspires with Stunning “Momentum”

Each year, Conn’s Dance Club puts on two seasonal shows: one in the fall and one in the spring. This year’s fall show “Momentum” happened the weekend of Nov. 2-4. The three members of the Dance Club Executive Board, Alexandra Bernardo ’20, Emme Benington ’20, and Maddy Bank ’20, explain in the show’s program that “the name of [their] show derives from the constant movement that [they] as dancers and humans experience.” They further described how momentum helps dancers move, but also that having “determination can help you gain the momentum necessary to tackle” any obstacles you may face. In an email, they elaborated: “Momentum was a name that came to mind in the thick of preparing for the show to come together. We wanted to highlight the constant movement of the dancers and the mounting excitement we felt about the show.” At the Friday night performance, a makeshift stage with a balcony and velvet curtains was set up in the Martha Meyers Studio in Cro, and almost all of the seats were filled with supportive friends, family, and faculty. The show consisted of ten numbers, combining a variety of dance forms including modern, contemporary, and hip hop. Everyone in the audience could find a piece to enjoy; the theme was relatable for all viewers, regardless of their personal dance ability.

The show opened with a modern dance titled “us, after” choreographed by Kelley Fairman ’18. Although I enjoyed this piece, my attention was drawn in during the second dance of the show, “Youth,” choreographed by Teddie Nguyen ’20 and performed to the song “BRLLNT” by Blessed. Nguyen performed with first-year Carlos Alberti, using the dance style known as “popping.” Nguyen explained that he “used a lot of animation,” manipulated speed, and used “stops and body controls to make [them] look like [animated] character[s].” Both dancers had spotlights on them throughout the dance while the rest of the stage was in shadow, which gave the piece a technological effect. Nguyen elaborated that these routines “were moves inspired throughout [his] dance life, the music, the mechanics, and chemicals between dancers,” and that while performing this piece, he “wanted to inspire the audience by the instant emotions evoking from the music.” The piece was brilliantly choreographed and impressive, displaying energy–and momentum–that brought an eruption of applause at its end.

The last performance before intermission was “Happy Accidents (7, to be exact),” which was choreographed by Emily Green ’18 in collaboration with the seven other dancers in this piece. Green stated that she found inspiration “from choreographic ideas [she] wanted to try, mental pictures [she] wanted to create, and humorous aspects in life.” She went on to say that “by developing smaller ideas into more concrete sections, my dancers and I were able to create something that made all of us really happy” and hopefully entertained the audience, a goal which I think this piece accomplished beautifully. The dance combined modern and expression into a whirlwind of song, energetic movement, and team collaboration, all in tune to a variety of songs, most notably “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers and an audio clip from “The Joy of Painting” with Bob Ross. Even the colorful clothes worn by the dancers added to the happy and playful mood of this piece.

“7:23” reopened the show after a brief intermission. This mixture of modern and contemporary stood out for me because the dancers moved perfectly together in harmony. The second to last dance was titled “Fleeting” and was both choreographed and performed by Elizabeth Magnan ’20 and Deanna Zois ’20. Together both dancers built off of each other’s styles, creating a piece with impressive leaps and jumps that created harmony and showed trust between the two dancers.

Although not in Palmer Auditorium or Evans Hall, the fall dance club performance was a grand showcase in my mind, for it displayed tremendous artistic talent and a broad variety of dance forms. Brought together by passion and movement, the show perfectly demonstrated the powers of momentum in dance, influencing the audience to not only want to get up and dance, but also to strive to persevere through future obstacles. Benington said that she felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment after the last performance on Saturday. Both she and Bank said they are grateful for the opportunities Connecticut College gives them to express their passion for dance. Bernardo stated that although creating this show was an intensive process, “it was such an amazing experience that would not have been possible without the dedication and passion from the choreographers, cast, and crew,” a devotion that the audience could see and feel.