Dancers take inspirations from across ocean

Students who attended Orchesis Contemporary Dance Theatre’s first performance of the spring semester experienced the heart and soul of Africa through music and dance.

The show was captivating from the opening piece, “Tapestry,” until the finale, “Balante.”

Dancers in “Tapestry” were accompanied by a single African drum and playful xylophone. The musical stylings complimented the dancer’s high spirits and rhythmic movements.

Countless students enjoyed “Tapestry’s” choreography. “I liked the African themes and how the dances contained elements of hip-hop,” said Kinika Young, 20, a junior political science student from Montgomery, Ala. The dancers performed high-energy African-dance moves while still managing to throw in a little “peanut butter jelly.”

While most of the choreography was African-inspired, the Orchesis dancers took the audience to ancient India with relaxed yoga-like dancing in”Power Salutation.” The beautiful shades of blue lights gave the piece a calming effect.

The dance, “Five,” seemed to be an audience favorite. Its 1920’s busy-city atmosphere was created by the costumes, intricate choreography and mid-tempo jazz.

“Rainbow at Midnight” was full of Latin flavor. The deep-red lighting during the beginning guitar solo gave a passionate, yet somber feel to the piece. The dance ended with sophisticated Latin claps and stomps that made one feel as if they were indeed, south of the border.

The finale, “Balante,” was a high-spirited, upbeat closing to a great show. The radiant red and orange background colors and skillful lighting added spirit to the compelling sound of the African drums. The straw skirts that the dancers wore too added emphasis and style to the performance. The choreography in “Balante” was joyful and energizing, portraying the essence of ancient tribal dancing and African celebration.

Orchesis is known for it’s great dancing. Not only are the dance moves good, but the troupe explores different genres as seen in “Many Shores… Many Rhythms.”

The style and grace of the Orchesis dancers made the show a success. “Many…Shores… Many Rhythms” gets “many props.”