Dim lights hovered above a small but packed theater as the Case Western Reserve University dancers prepared for the final performance of their show “Horizons” on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. The dark and tense atmosphere in the room heightened as the lights dimmed, and silence overtook the crowd like a brisk fire.
Suddenly, two tables on the stage lit up, a light blue highlight for two dancers ready to perform.
Clad in black, the two dancers moved harmoniously to the mellow piano and violin. As the song sped up, so too did the dancers. They showed off their technical prowess as their synchronicity remained on point even as the pace the song increased for more challenging movements. Artfully moving on and off the tables, the dance ended in a sudden hush.
From just the first number, it was clear that this performance was designed with a purpose. The Mather School of Dance at CWRU is filled with students from around the world. With this international talent comes a blend of cultural styles, which was reflected in the number of different types of dances that were performed.
The next piece started with one girl moving to a syncopated beat of castanets. As the beat continued to add new and surprising elements, so did the dance. One girl then became two girls and then five as the music added high-pitched chimes and bells. Infused with energy building from the dance, the performers locked arms and swung around, rounding out the eccentric dance.
The band made an appearance for the third dance. Their warming up in between songs offered the audience a soothing preview of the variety of sounds to come. Four rows of three dancers each, all draped in white, took center stage for this song. Their movements were all from positions on the ground, and as the lights wandered the stage, the mood slowly intensified, beckoning dancers to enter from all sides. Guided by violins and cellos, the dancers showed their hard practice as they performed physically demanding movements gracefully.
The fourth song shook the rhythm of the performance. A topless man with white pants mirrored a woman with a matching white outfit. Futuristic electronic music lined the foundation of this dance. Using the lights as a pseudo wall, the dancers artfully repelled one another, as each performer had a chance to perform alone on stage. Matching the style of music, the dancers flipped, spun and glided across stage in a fervor that built to climax, and this portion ended as suddenly as it began.
The fifth dance was very classical, as a single pianist provided all the music for this work. Different groups of dancers each performed small “skits” to different musical numbers, showing a number of different bright movements. While not the most physically demanding work, the dancers highlighted the beauty in this old piece titled “Canonic ¾ Studies.”
CWRU’s Department of Dance’s latest show combined traditional and modern elements into an eclectic show which showed off the group’s months of practice.
Dance Group: CWRU Department of Dance