Mahogany takes to stage

The Mahogany Dance Theatre of Florida A&M University presented its first show of the semester, “The Premiere,” Wednesday night in Lee Hall.

Before the show began, the dancers warmed up with a rigorous exercise routine. They clapped their hands and moved their feet to the beat of the music trying to get the last bit of practice in.

“We didn’t have enough time to prepare for this show,” Tiffany Moore said.

Moore, 21, a junior accounting student from Atlanta and the current president of Mahogany Dance Theatre, said the company had one month to prepare for the show and the opening piece was choreographed Monday.

Then it was showtime.

As the curtains came up and the lights went down, two of Mahogany’s dancers appeared center stage. Jennifer Davis and Sheena Demby performed “Trust In You,” a synchronized gospel piece choreographed by both women.

Some of the show’s attendees enjoyed the opening selection.

“I like the simplicity of the performance, no distractions, just spiritual music and classic dancing,” said Dorian Jones, 23, a senior health information management student from Tallahassee.

“It’s great to see talent and confidence among Mahogany’s dancers and FAMU’s student body.”

When the time came for Mahogany to perform “Fahrenheit,” a hip hop and R&B piece choreographed by Samenta Jean-Baptiste, Sahara Jones, and Wilfred “Dubbie” Reddick, the company’s only male dancer, the audience became energetic. People begin to clap their hands and praise the dancers for the performance.

“This performance put me in the mood to dance,” said Lyzanethia Samuels, 18, a freshman from Miami.

“Mahogany put their all into it, you could tell everyone was trying, I’m proud of them.”

After the intermission, the dancers performed “I Can Explain,” an interpretive piece choreographed by Traci Young.

According to Moore, interpretive or lyrical dancing is feeling the words of a song through movement. The Mahogany Dance Theatre uses this style of dancing at each show.

Company members said they are familiar with all elements of dance including modern, ballet, jazz and hip-hop techniques.

“We enjoy all aspects of dance, it’s a major part of our lives” said Reddick, 23, a senior psychology student from Jacksonville.

“I hope to pursue dance upon graduation.”

Mahogany ended the show with “Flashback,” a retro piece choreographed by Natasha Ashley and Tiffany Taylor. The dancers went back into time with bell-bottom pants, peddle pushers and hot pants. The routine included jazz and ballet techniques. An array of lights: red, green, blue and yellow were used throughout the performance.

“Perfect lighting creates a three-dimensional space in which dancers can express themselves,” said Xavier Pierce. Pierce, 21, is a senior technical theatre student from Miami and is currently the lighting designer for Mahogany Dance Theatre.

Pierce said, “Mahogany is a spiritual and emotional troupe, therefore I came up with a lighting concept to support their expressionistic movements.”

Barrayne Richardson, vice president of Mahogany said despite the short preparation time, the show was a success.

The Mahogany Dance Theatre and FAMU Strikers will be perform together April 1 and 2 in The Spring Excursion, which will be free to the public.

“For our spring show, we will have new routines, elaborate costumes and lighting and the Strikers are going to help Mahogany set it off,” Richardson said.

Contact Angela A. Green at