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Man in the Mirrorchesis: Trying to Push Boundaries

luv u, MJ

luv u, MJ

Some of your classmates are insanely talented at channeling their inner Michael Jacksons. The multidimensionally modern Madysen Luebke checked out this fall’s Orchesis production.

Man in the Mirrorchesis was not this Bwogger’s first time seeing this dance group’s show.  Their performances have always been entertaining for dancers and non-dancers alike.  However, this semester did not stick out as much as past semesters have, and it was not the fault of the dancers or the choreographers. An Orchesis performance isn’t CoLab; it’s not experimental, but the dances are supposed to be fun, thoughtful, and entertaining.  That being said, there needs to be something about an Orchesis show that makes people want to come back every semester.  There should be new ideas, innovative choreography, and there should be pressure on the choreographers to get out of the rut from which Orchesis is struggling to be free.

It is clear that whoever curates the show is attempting to showcase innovative ideas this semester.  There were definitely some pieces that worked really well.  Victoria Robson’s South African dance piece was the epitome of fresh choreography.  Not only was the style unlike anything else, obviously, but also Robson placed the dancers on stage in a very organic manner to the style of dance.  There were moments when the dancers were in three lines, and there were moments when they formed a dance circle around a duet.  Nothing about this piece felt like it was done before, and the entire concept of it felt very organic.

Another success for the evening was Catherine Haber’s piece.  Haber seems to have a natural ability to create a cohesive vision to the dance.  Her costumes, spacing, and lighting all highlighted the story and the ability of her dancers very well.  She also clearly knew her music very well, as her choreography did not just rely on surface melody; the dance was as complex and layered as the music.

These two choreographers may have been the strongest in the whole evening, but there were certainly other pieces that brought new concepts to the table.  Sam Mickel’s tap number felt like a call-and-response meets dance battle between the live piano trio and sizable group of tappers.  Laura Quintela’s cabaret-esque piece told a story through simple slinky movements.  Dan Pahl’s Broadway showstopper made everyone smile involuntarily with the charisma of the dance.  These pieces all contributed new ideas to the Orchesis scene, but the actual choreography fell short of pushing any limits.

Emma Chaves also brought some interesting ideas to the table, but did not follow through with her theme.  She collaborated with Solomon Hoffman on an interesting piece for piano trio.  Her piece was in the vein of a contemporary ballet, but there were definitely moments in the choreography where the steps fell out of line with the overall style.

Unfortunately, there were many pieces that simply fell onto the wayside because they were nothing new from Orchesis.  This is not to say that they bad pieces whatsoever.  The ideas have just been done before in previous years.  It seems like Orchesis has its own genre of movement.

The final piece of the show fell prey to this problem.  The dancers were amazing, and there were really wonderful choreographic moments, but the overall vision left me very confused.  The costumes were reminiscent of previous shows and the concept of passing a flower has been done at least once in the past year.  The passing of the flower combined with strong and powerful movement did not make sense, as, in the past, the flower motif has been indicative of a love story gone awry.  When the number started, all of the elements carried their own choreographic connotations instead of allowing for a new story to be told.

It is undeniable that Man in the Mirrorchesis has an incredibly talented cast of dancers and choreographers.  Any Orchesis show is worth going to, if nothing else to find out that the quiet girl in Lit Hum can bust it out like none other in the hip hop piece.  However, the average student has the opportunity to see eight different Orchesis productions.  That being said, Orchesis should strive to push to create a show that will keep the audience on their toes, even if it’s someone’s eighth time around.

Poster via the event page on Facebook

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  • Anon says:

    @Anon Final piece: passing a scepter, not a flower, thus the title “royalty”

  • yikes says:

    @yikes this is heinously written

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous please be more vague….

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous it’s hard to take this review seriously when the facts are wrong.

  • ew says:

    @ew an awful review for a fantastic show… MJ would not be proud.

  • anonymous says:

    @anonymous Are you kidding? The final piece was incredibly clear and poignant–because the dancers were passing a scepter not a flower. Maybe you should fact-check before publishing something completely off base.

  • annoyed says:

    @annoyed The final piece was beautifully choreographed and extremely impressive. This critic is misinformed. That’s all.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I would just like to point out the two pieces with LIVE MUSICIANS on STAGE which Orchesis has never had before! Interesting how those were not mentioned in the slightest.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous except they were…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It’s definitely a little disheartening that the author got the main fact of the last piece wrong. Not only were the dancers phenomenal, but the choreographer also did an incredible job. It was innovative and fresh, and if the writer had only realized (which required minimal attention to detail) that it was a scepter and not a flower being passed around, I think he/she would have agreed. I loved it.

  • wtf says:

    @wtf It would be nice if the writer knew a little more about dance or had payed better attention to each piece.

    Claps for the comment about the scepter… it in no way looked like a flower. Please get your facts straight.

  • JS says:

    @JS I’m normally not one to comment on these reviews, but how can you review this production without mentioning John Fisher? He stole the show this semester. His stage presence is incredible, and he is an asset to the entire theatre community. I can’t wait to see him in future Orcheses.

  • lolol, this review says:

    @lolol, this review “…and none for Gretchen Weiners, bye!”

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous how can aly yee’s piece (the last one in the show) not be discussed? it was also remnant of kylie knoezer’s piece last semester which stole the show.

  • BC '14 says:

    @BC '14 Laura Quintela co-choreographed with Raquel Chavez on “Rich Man’s Walk”, and Emma Chaves’s piece was modern, not contemporary ballet.

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