Students dance the night away

(Left to right) Yuka Asai, Marimar Tovar-Lopez, Hyun Ji Lee, Carlos Zarate, Elizabeth Hearn and Aubree Bledsoe perform a dance routine titled “Deadline” at the Robert B. Moore Theatre.

As Orange Coast College students, friends and families took their seats Saturday night, chatter and anxious waves filled the Robert B. Moore Theatre.

The audience settled in to watch OCC’s Student Dance Concert, an annual event where students perform original choreography in a variety of dance styles featuring diverse genres of music.

Ranging from Cirque du Soleil, to Deadmau5 to Nickel Creek, the audience was immersed into a frantic world of fantasy, deep pain and much more — each all wonderful master pieces in their own right.

The first dance was titled “Deadline” and was choreographed by Ariel Schreiman and accompanied by “Berlin” by The Piano Guys.

The dance featured OCC students dressed in school uniforms fidgeting and intensely looking at papers. As the title “Deadline” describes, the audience peered into a group of students hard at work and the inevitable failing from the pressures of school in a never-ending cycle.

The moves kept the audience on the edge of its seats and a “whoa” as papers are thrown and falling on the stage.

After a brief intermission, the next dance titled “Without You” was choreographed by Kaitlyn Wood and accompanied by “Torture” by Les Friction. The dance was dedicated to her grandmother Maggi Helms.

The dance featured four dancers who were differentiated by the color of their dresses — one was in white and the other three were in blue. It seemed the dancer in white represented her grandmother and the other dancers represented family.

I was blown away by how in sync the dancers were with each other and with the music. One point in the dance met the climax of the song and it felt like watching fireworks — in awe of what you’re viewing.

The third dance of the night was titled “On the Edge” choreographed by Ryo Inagaki, Asahi Matsumura and Santiago Rivera and accompanied by “Strobe” by Deadmau5.

This piece was such a contrast in style and dance from the others, with two of the dancers fighting to trap the third in a web, only to end with one of the original dancers leaving and the new dancer taking its place.

At first I thought I was viewing a portrayal of deceit and lies when in reality it was exploring the theme of addiction from one’s first encounter to their freedom. The movements were perfect representation of the highs and lows addiction causes.

The fourth dance of the night, titled “Mutiny,” was choreographed by Yuka Asai and accompanied by “Escape Artist” by Zoe Keating.

Initially, I was critical at how stylistically simple this routine was compared to the others before it, but learned the choreographer/performer had injured her knee and almost didn’t perform.

Asai had to then change her original concept, music and choreography to perform with the limitations of her movement, allowing her to focus on what she could do. The routine was a beautiful testament to what passion for dance and an open mind can do.

Although stylistically simple, it was aesthetically pleasing.

The fifth dance of the night titled “Feral” was choreographed by Rena Ota and accompanied by “Mutation” by Cirque du Soleil.

One of my favorite dances of the night, it was upbeat and made you want to go feral and dance alongside the dancers, who were dressed in fishnets and flowy pants. The dancers pranced and hit every beat covering almost every inch of the stage.

The remaining pieces included tap dancing, interpretation of sibling rivalry, romantic longings, a modern spin on traditional khaleggi dance and a raw, vulnerable take on dreams.  

The night was sealed with eight Dance department students receiving scholarships and awards for their commitment, passion and overall spirit to dance.

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