2012 Winter Show
Performed by the BodyHype Dance Company
Thursday (1/10) at 8:00 PM; Friday (1/11), Saturday (1/12) at 7:00 PM & 10:00 PM
$10 general, $8 for students
It’s moments like these when I think of Forrest Gump and his horribly over-cited yet remarkably astute musing, “Momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Unlike with troupes such as High Steppers and Princeton Bhangra, one cannot hear the name “BodyHype” and mentally categorize an upcoming performance as a jazz fest, lyrical showcase, ethnic exposé, or pop and lock spree. If anything, the essence of the group is captured by that all too familiar cry, “WHEN I SAY ‘BODY’ YOU SAY ‘HYPE’!! BODY HYPE! BODY HYPE!” As a BodyHype alumnus once told me, dancing is not just labels and movement; it’s a story-telling catharsis, a way to generate “hype” and breathe the fire and enthusiasm of performing arts into an audience. While full appreciation of a production like BodyHype’s winter display does require interest in the art form and willingness on the viewer’s part to truly immerse himself in the experience, even I (blessed with the grace and dancing ability of a rampant moose) was captivated by the adept explosions of passion occurring onstage.
As always occurs in a compilation of numerous short pieces, some numbers were stronger than others. Of course, what I saw was a dress rehearsal, and expecting perfection from a dress rehearsal is approaching insanity. However, it must be noted that the performance was not without flaws, some of which (most notably certain lifts) cannot and will not be fixed by showtime. Yet the soul of the show, its choreography and pure energy, consistently shimmered. And when the dancers clicked, oh, did they click – dancers Isabel Mitchell and Kamber Hart especially showed off the sheer breadth of BodyHype’s skill as they seamlessly transitioned between contemporary and jazz to hip-hop. Pieces choreographed by Mitchell as well as Gretchen Hoffmann, Celina Culver and Chris Teng collectively displayed different offbeat facets of the group’s expertise, a risky tactic which worked purely because BodyHype had the skill to back it up. While perhaps the circumstances of a first dress rehearsal made some pieces before intermission feel slightly raw, the performers seemed to palpably find their rhythm in the second half. Led by Eamon Foley’s provocative all-girl number (which can only fairly be described as ‘fierce’), this felt like the BodyHype alumni were speaking of, the troupe where it’s not just about the dancing but so much more.
Visually, the show was stunning. Lights, costumes and smoke worked in tandem to compose breathtaking silhouettes splashed across the stage backdrop. Pulses in lighting worked in synergy with musical beats, and some pieces (most notably Eamon Foley’s post-intermission number and Amy Sun’s poignant exploration of female empowerment) utilized props and texture in a truly clever manner. Perhaps the most special visual component was the bounty of quirky expressions that confirmed the troupe’s mission of storytelling and entertainment. All in all, BodyHype’s eclectic and liberatingly theme-less program was refreshing and I couldn’t help but be engaged, whether I was watching an anguish-filled en pointe piece, hilariously choreographed men in black or a schoolgirl scene strongly reminiscent of “… Baby One More Time.” While resisting the urge to insert a corny and forced pun about whether it lived up to the hype, I can safely say that if the 2013 Winter Show were truly a box of chocolates, I’d buy that box again in a heartbeat, if only for the way it simultaneously provided a respite from the mind-numbing “struggs” (I’m looking at you, Prince) of reading period and a way to once again marvel at the talents thrust upon us by our fellow Tigers.