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There is only one question that surges through your head after seeing YPAS Dance Concert 2011, and that is ‘What have you done lately?’ The sheer energy and raw power demonstrated by the student-dancers is enough to make an audience member reflect on what they have done to bring beauty into this world, since the entire performance is one beautifully inspiring spectacle after another. The entire production was unbelievable, from the edgy choreography in “Converge”, to the elaborate, fleshy costumes in “Just After Dark”. YPAS Dance Concert 2011 is an awe-inspiring must-see!
YPAS Dance Concert 2011 is a two-hour long creative dream that fills every single minute with a visionary paradise. It features talent from students in the Youth Performing Arts School, most of who major in dance. Dance Concert showcases eight pieces varying from classical ballet with a muted hip-hop twist to modern and contemporary dances, all of which contain a story communicated through vivid choreography and costumes, coherent music selection, and apposite set design. One piece, “Warm Love/Cole End” even featured live music, in which four students accompanied the dancers via piano. The four choreographers are members of the YPAS Dance staff: Gail Benedict, Kimberly Lynn Herndon, Theresa Mudd-Kelly, and Lora Ruttan.
Each dance number was artistically fueled, brilliantly choreographed, and exceptionally executed. It was clear that the performers had spent many hours in rehearsal, perfecting each isolation, elongating each extension, and cracking the air perfectly with each tap of their shoe, especially in the jazz and tap dance titled “Crazy Love”, choreographed by Gail Benedict. “Crazy Love” was a refreshing take on a troupe of jazz performers with sassy flavor and fierce attitudes. Not only did the audience see these student-dancers extremely invested in their craft, but they saw that the performers could not only dance, but act as well, as they embodied characters for each piece, and depicted smiling and laughing dancers in “Crazy Love”, or desperately clinging on to something that was clearly gone in the heartbreaking “Relinquish”.
Of course the dances wouldn’t have been the wistful spectacles that they were without a dedicated crew and production staff. The costumes and set design added an appreciated third dimension to the music and dance. In “Converge”, the cast of nine wore similar black shirts and bottoms, both form-fitting, but each garment had a unique design of cool colors. A senior in the Design and Production magnet, Mariah McDonald, made these costumes. In “Just After Dark”, the performance begins with thick smoke drifting out on stage, making its foggy way through trees as tall as the stage to create a mysterious and mystifying mood. The dancers wore neon green, yellow, and purple body suits made by senior Design and Production magnet student Chloe Hixson.
Although each dance was emotive, one of the truly rending pieces was “Converge”. Choreographed by Kimberly Lynn Herndon, “Converge” was a piece that explored the realms of meeting and dispersing, reveling in unison, and struggling to break away from the crowd. Dancing to “Within Dreams” by The Album Leaf, the dancers began walking all over the stage with what seemed to be no particular destination. On the drops of the beat, individual dancers begin to isolate certain parts of their body in almost violent, thrashing movements. They do this at different intervals, which demonstrated how incredibly aware they are of their bodies, each other, and the music. In the beginning and end of this piece the dancers are silhouetted with a warm orange background. They walk together, as if numb to the world around them, and suddenly individuals break out in solo, reaching for the sky, spinning and leaping, or even performing acrobatic acts such as standing on one’s forearm and elbow. “Converge” possessed a show-stopping quality so heavy that it is sure to pose the question in your head, ‘What have I done lately?’
“Zume!” A piece also choreographed by Kimberly Lynn Herndon carried a distinct African influence throughout it. Performed in a cast of twelve, each dancer wore long, loose, streaming skirts or pants in pastel blues and purples. The music was aggressive but not intimidating. It provided a platform for the tough and strong choreography, which out of all the dances possessed the most secular flavors. This is the ending number of the show, which is appropriately placed since this is the number that gets the audience hollering and hooting with cheers of appreciation and zeal due to the rather stimulating dance moves like the body rolls and thrusts as oppose to the soft and delicate choreography of the other pieces.
For anyone who follows dance and appreciates the art form, this show is for you in every way imaginable. For anyone who doesn’t particularly know anything about dance, YPAS Dance Concert 2011 is a fun and electrifying show of what talented young people can do. Anyone attending fortunte enough to ttend this performance or YPAS Dance Concerts in the future this performancewill undoubtedly be affected with inspiration strong enough to pose the question inside your head, ‘What have I done lately?’
YPAS Dance Concert 2011
Youth Performing Arts School
Choreographers: Gail Benedict, Kimberly Lynn Herndon, Theresa Mudd-Kelly, Lora Ruttan
Dancers: Olivia Allison, Te’Era Coleman, Mycala Baker, Forrest Hersey, Alexis O’Brien, Paige Roberts, Rachel Hafell, Haley Brennan, Molly King, Kelsey Lanceta, Kaitlyn Schuetze, Lili Kinman, Bailey Rose, Danielle Crowe, Miranda Yount, and more.
February 25 & 26 at 7:30 P.M. $11-12
February 27 at 2:00 P.M $11-12