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Fusion's creativity on display

The Fusion Dance Company lives up to its name in its 26th annual show, combining a variety of music and styles of dance. The show opened last night in Alumnae Hall, where the group's dance moves will be on display for three more shows this weekend.

Fusion - a multi-cultural dance group founded in 1983 -- encourages blending and exploring different forms of expression through dance.

Karina Fernicola-Ikezoe '09, co-director of Fusion, said this year's show displays the "flow of sampling different styles."

During the opening number, the entire company dances to a mix of two melodic songs by French vocalist Camille.

"The movement is somewhat pedestrian and is meant to reflect the unease created by (Camille's) discordant harmonies," says the show's program. This "unease" is apparent as the dancers frequently switch formations and the tempo fluctuates.

Immediately after that fluid, artistic piece, Fusion shifts gears and jumps into a more upbeat, R&B dance piece that displays the group's incredible versatility. They move seamlessly from the gentle flow of the introductory number to the sharp and accented movements of hip-hop.

Soon after, the group slows it back down with a performance set to Imogen Heap's "Speeding Cars." More traditional, balletic dancing accentuates the mellow undertones of the song.

In one of the show's highlights, three female Fusion members perform a beautiful piece to "Lux Aeterna" and "Coney Island Low" by contemporary composer Clint Mansell. With graceful movement and a minimal number of dancers on stage, the piece immediately changes the ambiance of the entire show, creating a sense of intimacy between the performers on stage and their audience.

Shorter performances are dispersed throughout the show to smooth transitions between longer numbers. Often featuring three dancers at most, these interludes showcase a range of dance styles, including hip-hop and rock. They keep the audience engaged at every moment, while reinforcing the versatility on which the group prides itself.

"The interludes have definitely stepped it up," said Fusion co-director Michele Baer '10.

These sporadic interludes - including pieces set to Keri Hilson's "Turnin Me On" and Beyonce's "Diva" - are colorful displays that highlight the Fusion members' ample hip-hop abilities.

The group also proves that its creativity extends beyond choreography. Several of the pieces use acting to frame dancing, placing the company's movement in the context of a larger story.

One such piece is set to Joshua Radin's "Vegetable Car," and dancers act out a classic boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-in-love-with-girl scenario on stage.

Another story of budding romance comes in "18th Floor Balcony," which "uses partnering to explore the tensions and challenges of a new relationship," according to the program. Another of the show's highlights, this piece is unique in that the dancers work with partners to move as one.

The penultimate piece of the show features Fusion's class of graduating seniors. It's a number that clearly seeks to entertain, transitioning through a medley of different songs and dance styles that range from hip-hop to boy band choreography.

The show's final number, performed by the entire company, ties everything together in a triumphant display of energy. It includes hip-hop dance elements set to "Colors" by the Cool Kids and funk-inspired elements set to Santigold's "Shove It."

Fusion's energy throughout the show is infectious.

"We feed off (the audience's) energy and they feed off ours," Fernicola-Ikezoe said.

Fusion performs again at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday, with a matinee show at 2 p.m. on Sunday. All performances are in Alumnae Hall.


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