I know reality television gets criticized much of the time, especially recently with the phenomena of Jersey Shore and MTV shows of a similar ilk. However, I think there is real merit to the reality television shows that revolve around competition. I do not mean Celebrity Fit Club or Rock of Love when I say “competition”. I am referring to a competition revolving around a real talent like singing, designing, and dancing. One of my favorite competition shows is Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD).
SYTYCD is dedicated to showcasing different genres of dance from ballet to hip-hop to Broadway style. They also always take the time to acknowledge the choreographer of each piece. This always makes me happy, because in many other artistic disciplines, it is the norm that the people behind the scenes who do so much work tend to not get very much public appreciation. I have found this not to be the case with dance, which brings me to the point of the post: Orchesis.
Orchesis is the largest student-run dance group on campus and every semester they put on a show of completely student-choreographed routines. This show is not a competition, but rather a collaboration. This year’s show features 12 dances choreographed and performed by students. Board member Katie Sun (BC ’12) said the styles run the gamut from contemporary and modern to ballet-inspired to hip-hop to tap and Broadway. There is truly something for everyone.
During the first few weeks of the semester, hopeful choreographers audition their pieces for the Orchesis board. Sun said that there is an even mixture of dance majors and non-dance majors choreographing. After the pieces are chosen, the dancer auditions take place. Everyone who auditions is guaranteed to be in at least one number. This is a great opportunity for those who have been dancing all their lives as well as those who want to try something new. An aspect of this audition process I found particularly interesting is that the auditioning dancers rank the pieces they would like to be in and their preference is taken into consideration when the choreographers cast their pieces.
While all the pieces are rehearsed separately, the group does come together twice before the show to see the progress of the pieces and to support each other. There is also a group number involving most members of Orchesis. I think the collaboration between the dancers and their choreographers as well as the group as whole is representative of dance as an art form.
Orchesis’ show is this Sunday, March 28 at 8pm and 10:30pm in Roone Arledge Auditiorium. It features dances to songs from Mary Poppins and Glee among others. Tickets are $5 with CUID and $10 without CUID. You can find more information on their facebook page.
Alison Goldberg, BC ’12