Saturday, May 8, 2010

BodyHype: A Company of Performers

At Princeton, when I say “Body,” you probably think of clamoring audiences and shaking hips. But what else can you expect from BodyHype Dance Company’s spring show this year?

Without a theme or a title, this show presents itself as a bit of a wildcard. It opens with “Spicy,” a flashy homage to Latin dance, but proceeds to pieces set to songs by Lily Allen, Radiohead, and many other contemporary music artists.

Throughout the first half of the show, it seems that the theme could be “girls versus guys.” Most of the pieces are made up of three girls and three guys, all who engage in some type of choreographic struggle. This formula works well to showcase company members’ strong partnering skills, and it allows the student choreographers to experiment with innovative partnering techniques. But as well executed as these may be, too many similar pieces clustered together tend to dilute an otherwise exciting program.

The show also falls victim to the formula of using lyrics to generate movement (i.e., making a muscle at the word strong, running a hand down one’s cheek at the word tear). While this is a great way to draw in audiences that might not be familiar with dance, it doesn’t seem that pantomime should be at the top of the agenda for these talented dancers.

Indeed, the most successful pieces in the BodyHype show are those that do not fall into any choreographic traps. One of these is a dance by Sibley Lovett ’12, entitled “Where are the Edges?”. Here, Lovett found the perfect combination of dancers, movement style, and song (“Mother” by John Lennon).

Two other standout pieces are “Like Forgetting” by Gretchen Hoffmann ’13 and “Bury It” by Fletcher Heisler ’10. The former, set to “Eet” by Regina Spektor, is beautifully lyrical. The latter, set to “Time Is Running Out” by Muse, is wonderfully acrobatic.

All of these pieces, particularly Heisler’s, make great use of lighting. Costumes, for the most part, are plain, and the wait-time between pieces is tremendous (clocked at 1.5-2.5 minutes). But in the end, BodyHype's dancers let their incredible stage presence and energy shine. With infectious expressions, Hoffmann and Steven Chen ’12 could be considered MVPs in terms of stage presence and energy. But truly, this is an entire company of performers, and in this show, BodyHype's dancers demonstrate that they will deliver, no matter what the choreography - or wait-time - may be.

3.5 paws

Pros: Fantastic stage presence and energy from the dancers

Cons: Excessive wait-time between pieces, formulaic choreography and illustration of lyrics

BodyHype’s spring show ends today, Saturday, May 8, with performances at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. in Theatre Intime.

- Meghan Todt ‘11

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