Last weekend some of the best student dancers and choreographers at UCSB proudly showcased seven dance performances at the Hatlen Theater. Anyone lucky enough to attend the Theater and Dance Dept. show “UNBOUND Confessions” experienced just under two hours of passion-, frustration-, lust- and laughter-invoking dance pieces.
The spectacle kicked off with “While Not Why,” choreographed by Suki Clements, who is working on her BFA in dance. In the piece, we followed the struggles of the six jazz dancers as they fought over one prop door that stood isolated in the corner of the stage. After a beautiful blend of music by DeVotchKa and Sleeping at Last, the six eventually bring the door down and walk over it to the quiet sounds of their own footsteps.
The second piece was appropriately named “beneath these lights I shine” as the curtains gave way to six light bulbs hanging from the ceiling with six dancers underneath each one. In this dance performance, Julie Correia, a senior BFA dance major, interprets her experiences from The White Mountain Summer Dance Festival in New York. The highlight of the piece was a passionate tango between Brendon Chan and Genevieve Hand, whose captivating leaps and twirls stole the heart of the crowd.
“Duplicity” spiced things up as choreographer Amanda Theilen dared to substitute elegant dance moves for awkward jerks and convulsions in her portrayal of addiction and co-dependence. Not only did the dancers’ grabs and pulls convey the longing and pain of the piece but even their agitated facial expressions kept us at the edge of our seats.
“Promanomaly” had the audience in peals of laughter from the very beginning. Clad in bubblegum-colored tutus and wearing flowers in their hair, the girls danced to bubbly ‘80s pop with bright smiles on their faces until the frumpily dressed Kate Lyons trudged on stage and stood frowning in the midst of their glee. The hilarity only continued to ensue as Brittany Amoroso, a senior BFA student, gracefully transformed classic dance moves into a comedic composition.
In an interesting change of pace, the next piece was “drawing shades,” choreographed by business economics and dance double major Lauren Nicole Aranador. This dance was more drum-beat based and expressive than previous performances. Chelsea Hammond and Yvette Johnson, who both performed in “Promanomaly,” were completely unrecognizable and made the audience forget we had been laughing at them only minutes earlier.
“Sensual” is the first word that comes to mind when I remember “You, Always You, Everywhere You.” The beautiful array of dancers’ bare feet, short black dresses and wild, tangled hair sprawled in front of the audience to the sound of Édith Piaf and was choreographed by Brooklyn-based Company XIV’s own Austin McCormick.
The show finished with a bang with Derion Loman’s “OverTaken.” As the curtain rose and the audience was assaulted with flashes of red and glimpses of a dominatrix-type scenario, the person sitting next to me uttered an appropriate “Oh shit.” When the lights finally rested, Charley Schnitzer sat in the middle of a table surrounded by four other dancers dressed in black and red leather and lace. One could tell from the start that “OverTaken” would be a wild ride, and it sure was as the final scenes of “UNBOUND Confessions” were of dancer Kasey Burgunder intensely shaking on the table.
With the help of dance director Christina McCarthy, lighting director Vickie J. Scott and costume director Ann Bruice, this spring’s “UNBOUND Confessions” was an event not to be missed by any theater or dance lover.