Audiences mesmerized by emotional dances with all-male dance company

Rider Dances teamed up with the all-male dance company 10 Hairy Legs on March 4 to present a modern and emotional showcase, with the hopes to increase the number of male dancers.

By Jason Mount

Rider’s Dance Program teamed up with the all-male dance company 10 Hairy Legs on March 4 to present a showcase about diversity in the dance community and breaking gender stereotypes.

That night, the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC) theater filled with guests as a slide show of rehearsal pictures played, showing the work and dedication required for the showcase. Once the audience took its seats, the lights dimmed and the dancers took to the stage to perform the first piece, “Among the Stars That Have a Different Birth,” directed by 10 Hairy Legs’ Artistic Director Randy James.

The background was covered in blue lights as one dancer broke from the group, standing center stage and dancing to no sound. Then, the group followed suit as the track started playing.

Soon, the atmosphere switched from awe-inspiring to upbeat with a change in tempo and background color. The dancers focused a lot on their levels, ranging from kicking their legs into the air to getting as low to the ground as they could.

Between pieces, Rider Dance Director Kim Chandler Vaccaro and James would address the audience from a microphone placed stage left and describe the numbers they choreographed, segueing into each piece.

The second number, titled “Flirty3” and directed by Vaccaro, featured a song of the same title by Rider alum Madeline Prentice, ’16. Vaccaro described the piece as a “living band,” with each dancer corresponding to an instrument used in the song. Projected onto the background were the track details — the instruments used, the colors they were coded in and when they played in the song.

The dancers reflected the sounds of their related instruments through their movements, with a multitude of techniques, sometimes moving in sync with each other and other times dancing to their own beat, literally.

The third piece, titled “Slapstuck,” was choreographed by 10 Hairy Legs’ member David Parker. The piece incorporated comedy and musical theater elements, and it evoked many laughs from all members of the audience. The piece involved step-dancing, acrobatics, and velcro suits as the two dancers comedically, and literally, stuck to each other throughout.

“Movement of Life,” choreographed by local choreographer Jennifer Gladney, was an intense piece showing off the talent of the dancers as they put energy and passion behind each step, breath, and dance move. The spotlight truly shone on senior elementary education major Taylor Miller, the one dancer dressed in white, as she was the only person to never leave the stage during the number. The thunderous applause after the dance finished served as a solid testament to the impression the dancers made on the audience.

The only hip-hop dance in the showcase was “Aggressive Behavior,” put together by local choreographer Angela Cusumano. It was just as the title describes; dancers hit each movement with sharp precision and a powerful demeanor, compelling audience members to bob their heads along to the beat.

Act II opened with “Virago,” produced by local choreographer Laney Engelhard. The title is derived from the Latin word vir, meaning man, but the —ago suffix changes the word to mean “female warrior.” It served as an explanation for the rigid movements and serious tone that was set by lights placed onstage.

The show then transitioned into “Close Up,” choreographed by 10 Hairy Legs’ member Robert Burke, relaying themes of support groups and internal struggles. Chairs onstage formed a circle, and the dancers sitting in them radiated senses of anxiety and urgency as they portrayed a battle between where they wanted to be and where their body was moving them.

The final piece, “Quadrivium,” choreographed by local choreographer Megan Williams, was meant to inspire men to dance. During the show, a statistic was offered to the audience; out of every 100 dancers, only one is a man. “Quadrivium,” depicting children playing around, had the goal of enticing men to try dance and explore how fun it could be.

Rider Dances with 10 Hairy Legs was an entertaining and inspiring show, evidenced by the numerous guests that were held spellbound by the emotion poured out onstage. The show worked well with Rider’s Dance Program to capture the audience’s attention and inspire people to appreciate the art of dance just a little bit more.

 

Originally published in the 3/8/17 edition.

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