Spotif-what? Spotif-y? Spotif-Orchesis? You heard right: campus dance group Orchesis did a play-on-words with their name and Spotify, and it sort of worked as a title. What DID work was the amazing talent and creativity in last night’s performance. Bwogger Jennifer Nugent dishes.
Anyone at last night’s Orchesis dance performance is probably now low-key obsessed with the theme of the show. When I saw the title “SpotifOrchesis” I assumed that this was simply a reference to all the types of music in the show and I was pretty unimpressed. Then the show started and I realized the brilliance of whoever came up with this concept. Let me set the scene:
I arrived at Roone Arledge and chose a seating area that was immediately swarmed with parents and families. Music was on, the excitement was palpable, and grandmothers were already shedding tears. The theme came into play as soon as the show started, with an introductory voice-over explaining what Orchesis is. The sound effects and elevator music were nearly identical to real Spotify ads, and the show parodied several varieties of Spotify interruptions over the course of the show.
Orchesis had 14 choreographers working on these numbers and over 100 dancers on stage overall. Orchesis’ premise as a club is to create dance performances that include everyone: If you try out, you are guaranteed to be cast in at least one dance. The eclecticism this produces is visible in both the varying styles of dance and the different levels of experience. Orchesis accomplished the difficult task of putting on a professional, and incredibly organized show, with a huge number of people with a wide gamut of ability.
The show started with an advanced contemporary number set to Florence and the Machine then transitioned into a hip-hop number called “Frk Frek Freak,” so the difference in styles was immediately on display. Although I did see a parent gasp when the dancers literally dropped it low, I’m sure their sensibilities were returned by the ballet routines and fun tap number that followed.
During the number where dancers did not have as much experience, the audience showed equal support, displaying pride akin to someone watching their child’s first foray into sports. The back-ball-change, pirouette combo is, after all, a staple of any dancer’s first performance and was greeted with cheers from friends in the audience.
By the time we made it to intermission, I was excited to see more of the performance and ready to subtly (and not at all with a hidden Bwog agenda) listen in on the conversations around me. Shout-out to the people that had come to support their friends directly after completing either a chem or Mowsh bio exam, and to the parents shouting “they’re the best” at their kids onstage.
Everyone quickly returned to their seats and got their iPhones ready for the second half of the show. Something I appreciated about their take on the theme was that Orchesis was not afraid to parody itself. One ad was a call for men to join the group, explaining that boys would have more of an audience here than on the football team. Perhaps my favorite hilarious moment was the first ballet performance. It had everything you would expect of an allegro: lightning fast entrechat quatres, leotards and ballet skirts, and incredible precision. However, it was set to a hip hop song by Balkan Beatbox, and included a breakdown where two brave ballerinas broke out into the types of movement that had grandma staring with disapproval and the rest of the college-age audience laughing along.
You can still catch the next performance, tomorrow night at 10:30 pm!
Many of the performers can be seen again at the Columbia University Ballet Ensemble’s rendition of Don Quixote on April 21st!