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Print Editions Thursday September 28th, 2023

Fusion, Brown's oldest student-run dance company, was founded in 1983 by Paula Franklin because she "felt there was a need for more student choreography on campus," according to the group's website. And Fusion's Annual Show, taking place this weekend in Alumnae Hall, held true to its name and purpose at a dress rehearsal Wednesday evening — its members fused together a variety of music genres and dance styles to form a show that will keep the audience on its toes.

Fusion used to have two directors in charge of choreography, but was "restructured last year to make it more equal," said Alyssa Thelemaque '12. Now the company focuses on "giving everyone a space to choreograph."

Because the training level of members ranges from students "who have been in professional ballet companies, who have had no formal training or who have only done hip hop," Thelemaque said, this hands-on approach to choreography has interesting results.

The company's unique combination of styles came across clearly in the rehearsal, which included everything from breakdancing to ballet. There is "no unifying theme" to the show, said Thelemaque, other than to showcase the diverse talents and skills of Fusion's dancers.

The range of dances not only keeps the show feeling fresh and fun throughout, but also makes it accessible. The audience will recognize and sing along to most of the songs — which is encouraged by the company. Whether you're a "Gleek" or a Kanye West fan, Fusion did an excellent job of using pop culture to create a show that will be relatable to students.

A variety of music succeeded in creating different moods which were "a reflection of how everyone's semesters have been," according to Joelle Murphy '11. Each student had an opportunity to choreograph a piece. "It was a cohesive exploration of emotion," she added.

Dances varied in mood throughout the show — some were serious and emotional, energetic and playful or fun and sexy. Lighting and costume choices were used throughout to subtly, but appropriately, support the theme. For example, a piece set to Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason" played off the idea of a love triangle, with a male dancer and two female dancers in men's shirts — a fun but not over-the-top interpretation.

Not all of the interpretations were equally successful. At times, the way lyrics were translated into choreography was predictable and the incorporation of acting detracted from the performance. On the other hand, these pieces provided a pleasant break from the more abstract dancing.

One constant throughout the show was the dancers' positive energy. It was evident that Fusion's members knew how to work together — and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. For example, during "Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi?" dancers had genuine smiles on their faces the entire time.

"We're performing for an audience, but we also want to have fun and learn from each other," said Dan Lurie '11. "We're very close," Murphy added.

Throughout the show, audience members will experience laughter, goose bumps and awe. Upon leaving the studio, they will be just as excited about the performance as the dancers are about performing.

Impressive dance moves set to diverse music combine for a unique experience.


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