Arts & Culture

Fusion delivers inventive student choreography

Annual spring showcase features wide range of expression, musical interpretation

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, February 21, 2014

The Killers’ song “Human” was inspired by Hunter S. Thompson’s reputed claim that America was “raising a generation of dancers.” Though this was not intended as a compliment, the sharp-tongued gonzo journalist might have revised his thesis after seeing Fusion Dance Company’s 31st annual spring show.

True to its company’s name, the production is a medley of aural and visual aesthetic influences. Each performance is student-choreographed — an impressive undertaking in its own right, made even more so by its successful execution.

Audiences will likely be familiar with at least a few of the eclectic song selections, featuring contemporary musicians like Beirut and Beyonce alongside luminaries of yesteryear such as Al Green and Judy Garland.

The choreographers explore music and movement through a range of interpretive lenses ­— as transparent as romantic attraction or as obscure as the elusive search for identity. The more ambiguous pieces invite audiences to form their own analyses, while the more playful numbers are engaging and readily accessible to viewers.

Regardless of the mood, the choreography is creative and demonstrates  a close attention to detail, especially during subtle shifts of tempo and timbre. In performances with fewer dancers, more may suddenly flood the stage when songs reach their peak intensity, ebbing away with the decrescendo.

In a dance to Duffy’s “Mercy,” the larger group breaks into duets and trios, all each smaller cluster devoting itself to a specific performance dynamic before  realigning with the whole.

Within this diverse framework, the dancers traverse different styles with ease — ballet, tango and hip-hop mingle in unexpected combinations.

The dancers are actors as well as athletes, expressing a range of emotions in face as well as body. Though some pieces come together more crisply than others — in “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” there seemed an uncomfortable disconnect between the two performers — the dancers’ revelry in their craft is as palpable as their talent. Whether they are jubilantly leaping across the stage or playing hard to get in saucy, come-hither numbers, they whirl through the air in a fusion of human and dancer. Their sanguine smiles seem to say, “So what? It isn’t that hard.”

 

Fusion Dance Company’s 31st annual spring show opens tonight at 8 p.m. with performances tomorrow at 2 and 8 p.m. in Alumnae Hall. Admission is $5.