By Erin Tobin
By Erin Tobin
Riverside Community College once again renewed its marriage with performing arts with this year’s Celebrate Dance performance.
There were some things that were a little old, a lot of things that were new, one thing that was a bit borrowed and well, some of the costumes were blue.
This year’s program was spectacular and could very well rival as one of the better Celebrate Dance collaborations in the past few years.
What really made this a shining moment for RCC was the fact that all
of the work, including music selection, choreography, and costume design was done by RCC students. The event showed the talent of RCC’s dance students.
Variety was the spice of the program. While most of the pieces were of the modern or creative movement genre. There were some movements that seemed to be repeated multiple times. However, each piece stood on its own in terms of creativity.
From Sarah Ross’s piece, which opened in a primal fury of surreal red, to a piece later on dedicated to the impact television has had on the American family, appropriately titled
“Channel Zero,” there was obviously no limit to the ideas available to the choreographers.
One choreographer in particular, whose work stood out as a pleasant oddity, was Justyn Derek. His piece “B-Eye Chan-S” was broken into three parts, spread out through the course of the program. The first part was quite common, given the juvenile elementto it. The dancing broadcasted an attitude that was joyful, bright, and even at some points comical. The closing remark made by one of the dancers, though, was a bit confusing.
When what presented seems to be akin to a child’s slumber party, a phrase like “propaganda of the free world” just gets’ lost.
The second two parts of Derek’s work were even more unusual than his first. Derek’s dancers were choreographed to a monologue performed by John Simunovich, II.
This piece was unusual – the dancers didn’t move to the rhythm of what Simunovich was saying nor did they emphasize certain words or pantomime what was being discussed. Thus, it was hard to make a connection between the speaking and the moving. Furthermore, there really seemed to be no connection between the parts of the piece, other than the fact that Derek used the same dancers.
As aforementioned, Celebrate Dance has diversity. In sharp contrast to Derek’s piece, Teresa Bartley put together a number that seemed more jazz-like.
This very well done piece convincingly told a story of love and revenge, in a steamy fashion that would have earned Celebrate Dance at least a PG 13 rating if the MotionPicture Association of America had gotten hold of it.
One more sharp contrast was Michael Ochoa’s “No Toca El Toro.” The piece had a fun feeling that was a welcome change to all of the modern dance.
While at times Ochoa’s blend of break-dancing and hip-hop seemed almost too casual, the shouts and cheers of the dancers, who seemed to be having a great time, really made
the audience feel comfortable. The real treat, though, would have to be Jerome Robbins’s “Cool,” which, according to Robbins, was inspired by the choreography of Robert Arguata. Robbins’ piece reenacted the classic “Cool” scene from West Side Story, and the musical theater performance put on by his dancers was true to the piece’s title.
The piece demanded acting, singing and dancing from Robbins’ actors and the audience got all of that, with flair besides. Celebrate Dance may just be a starting point for most of its choreographers, but it’s a strong one.
Hopefully, Celebrate Dance will continue its tradition as a building block in the future.