A sneak peek of the spring dance concert PANDORA

By Amy Shaunette

PANDORA, the Spring 2008 Dance Concert, opens tonight and it is not to be missed. Between the masked beings, faeries, monsters and warriors, you’ll forget you’re at a dance concert. It feels more like a night at the movies. Despite your feelings about dance, Pandora has enough noteworthy moments to send anyone to the leotard store, or at least to the fine arts building.In PANDORA, the theater and dance department once again manages to provide something for everyone. Entirely student-choreographed and produced, the nine performances feature a wide variety of styles and subjects and well-chosen music, demonstrating the impressive range of talent the department boasts.

In the first piece, the dancers wear entirely black, with eerie white masks on the tops of their heads, creating the illusion of unnaturally large necks. Because the dancers are faceless and almost genderless, the audience can focus on the actual dancing, which is spidery and completely inhuman.

Ancient cultures and styles are explored in a mesmerizing Greco-Roman-inspired solo piece and in a large, epic battle scene. This piece consists of several sequences, switching from slow, somber music to raging metal to the dancers’ own chorus of sharp breaths.

PANDORA also touches on the spiritual world with a faerie dance. Clad in iridescent, sparkly costumes, the dancers do an Irish step dance, their feet flying. After a costume change, the faeries continue in the Irish tradition with a high-energy Flogging Molly song, creating an enticing juxtaposition between delicate faeries and angry punk rockers.

Towards the end of the show is a slower piece, done without music but still vibrant and playful. Soft, controlled movements give way to an all-out paint war.

The final piece features a group of girls dressed as monsters, with wild hair, torn clothes and violent sexuality. The choreography is fast and frantic but intelligent.

This might sound a bit tacky, but PANDORA transforms the theater into a mystical land. The choreography is enthralling, the cast of dancers is extensive and talented and the costumes are incredibly detailed. If you’re sick of Friday night keggers and Saturday movies, PANDORA is definitely the place to be this weekend.

AMY?SHAUNETTE