Orchesis: A Dance Group presents their Fall Showcase, Gimme Gimme MOrchesis, in Roone Arledge Auditorium tonight at 10:30, and tomorrow again at 8:30 P.M. Bwog sent its resident Roone Rebel Rouser Renée Kraiem to the dress rehearsal and here’s what she reported back.
If Gimme Gimme MOrchesis sets out to, in fact, give us more, it begins with a tall order: an opening offering featuring Orchesis’s eBoard that itself opens with, “It’s Britney, bitch.” With a coed cast draped in black, shimmering slip dresses and boxers, the piece, one of the group’s most successful interludes in recent memory, sets the tone for the season: maybe not more, but definitely different.
Not totally getting it yet? The first full-length piece, one of the concert’s best, ought to sort it out for you. Choreographed by Kate Offerdahl to Willis’s rendition of “Word Up,” the piece, in which dancers strut on stage in all black leotards and blazers, is what Orchesis gives you more of this season: a sultry, tempting good time. Featured dancer Valentina Strokopytova delivers, and the dancers work around the stage well.
It is pieces like Offerdahl’s that succeed in Gimme Gimme MOrchesis, and there are more of them than usual this Fall. “Hit Me Baby One More Time” interlude aside, the showcase’s standout pieces are all ones that major in attitude; Amanda Stibel’s “Mercy” and Jaclyn Hoffman’s “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich” deserve honorable mentions in this respect, if for no other reason than that Hoffman’s dancers all wear open blazers and sparkly bras. What defines this showcase, however, are the two pieces with attitude that up the ante: Kyley Knoezer’s “Starstruck,” and “Sail,” choreographed by Orchesis veteran Victoria Robson. “Starstruck” begins with a cluster of dancers draped again in black (but it’s fine because it’s New York), and cloaked in tulle collars. The costumes are the tip of the iceberg in this piece, as Knoezer’s dancers lunge and leap in a successfully coordinated and creative way that conveys an unapologetically haunted tone. The audience gets MOrchesis of this attitude from Robson’s piece, which culminates in AWOLNATION crooning, “Maybe I’m a different breed.” This piece, and this Orchesis, is certainly a different breed than we’ve seen in years past.
The eBoard should be commended for compiling a show that is different in attitude and also in cultural breath. Beginning with Hannah Zilka’s piece, the second of the show and the first of its kind, Orchesis offers up some Eastern influence in its choreography. This semester’s largest piece is also an offering of diversity for the visual palate; Natalie Jung, too, should be recognized for a skillful coordination of north of 30 dancers doing traditional Polynesian dance.
The show ends with a return to Orchesis’s niche, pieces that fall closer to the group’s conventional contemporary style and are relatively underwhelming relative to semesters past. The notable exception is Ivy Vega’s “This Bitter Earth,” which updated their old style well. Britney always has the last word, though, doesn’t she? And as the show’s entire cast gets on stage to dance “Til the World Ends,” we are all a little unsettled by this–but nobody can say they aren’t having a good time.