Dance Ensemble highlights inspiration in choreography

Brian Connors, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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The Iona Dance Ensemble performed its annual spring showcase in Murphy Auditorium on April 11 and 12. The theme of this year’s show was “Spaces and Places.” Whether historical, literal or metaphorical, the student dancers used the ideas of different spaces and places to inspire their dances.

Directed by Dr. Hannah Park, the dancers performed 11 dances. Some were choreographed by Park while others were choreographed by select students and outside choreographers.

This semester, the Dance Ensemble welcomed Professor Allison Pagano and Dina-Verley Christophe to choreograph select pieces. Junior Matthew George, junior Alyssa Pulci, freshman Dan Liang, junior Dominique Bryden and junior Valerie Amarosa were among the students to provide choreography.

The show began with a group number titled “Arise and Fall,” choreographed by Pagano in collaboration with some of the dancers. It was a powerful number inspired by questioning our human relationship to the structures we have created for ourselves. It was a great way to begin the showcase.

The next piece, titled “The ‘O’ Space: Infinity” was performed by Park and explored a dancer’s imagination of the great beyond. It was very cool to see the director perform and showcase the skills that make her so qualified to lead the Iona Dance Ensemble.

Other highlights from the show were “Beat Machine,” an R&B-inspired dance performed by George and a jazz-infused piece by Amarosa titled “Let’s Jive!”

The piece “Survivor,” choreographed by Park and performed by junior Jenna Caccavale, was very interesting. It was a nice treat for the audience because it was inspired by the popular dystopian movie “The Hunger Games.” The dance explored survival through the use of space design. It was fulfilling to see the inspiration translated into dance.

The group number at the end of the showcase, titled “Open Enclosure” and performed to “Amili” by Lil Wayne, was another highlight of the night. It was very enjoyable to see hip-hop inspired dance moves, and it was a fun piece to close out the show.

Overall, the Iona Dance Ensemble put on a fantastic spring showcase. “Spaces and Places” was filled with beautiful dances that were inspired by a variety of different things. As an audience member, the pieces really made you think and feel.