RU School of Dance and Theatre presented “Fall Dance Fest” on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 in the Bondurant Auditorium to a massive, cheering audience. With five extremely varied styles performed, the audience was shown the smorgasbord of talent RU has to offer.
The first performance of the night was “and still…we must,” with music by Salvador Barajas and performed by Danah Bella, artistic director of danahbella DanceWorks, based in Southwest Virginia. While the message of the piece was lost on me, the fluid movements of the modern contemporary style and intense music kept my attention and made it very clear that it was going to be an interesting night.
The second piece, “Land of Too Much,” choreographed by Deborah McLaughlin, was a fast-paced contemporary movement that showed the craziness of our everyday lives. The business world with their suits rushed around the stage looking at watches while a mother and child showed the strain of family life. The piece had so much going on at one time it was hard to focus, but there were moments when all the artists danced in unison and it was beautiful. Dancers included Tess Bentley, Samantha Hopkins, Emily Lee, Alyssa Moser, Andrea Rodgers and Jenna Rogato.
“Mercy Street,” choreographed by Bob Boross, performed a concept every person is familiar with: cliques. A fluid, jazzy piece about being an outcast and being picked on by cliques held the attention of the audience until the last beat. The dancers put all their emotion into their movements and played their roles well. Dancers for this piece included Ashley Coats, Sarah Hayes, Olivia Henley, Lauren Martin, Courtney Meade, Sarah Oliver, Ali Padgett, Jessica Ratliff, Caitlin Snead, LeeAnn Walker and Rachael Wyatt.
Danah Bella made another appearance through choreography for the the piece “Pr. no. 3, v.2.” This mellow contemporary performance gave each of the dancers their own spotlight moment to show their mad skills. Samantha Hopkins, Jodel Krumm, Bennett Little, Alyssa Moser, Caitlin Potosnak, Caitlin Ressegue and Marcus Wooling lit up the stage with beautiful lines, strong emotion and a ton of talent.
After a short intermission, the grand finale put the audience in awe. “Snow Scene from the Nutcracker” was definitely the performance of the night. The gorgeous winter wonderland set, complete with falling snow (bravo to the backstage crew and set builders), perfectly set off the graceful, white-clad snow crystals (Olivia Henley, Courtney Meade, Nicole Shackleford and LeeAnn Walker) and snowflakes (Temi Apostolaros, Melissa Lineburg, Meghan McCutcheon, Chelsea McGinnis, Alyssa Moser, Amanda O’Brien, Caitlin Potosnak, Andrea Rodgers, Amanda Sinn, Katherine Tedder, Korynne Waits and Dara Watson). Tess Bentley as Clara floated seamlessly among the sea of white and still stood out. “The Nutcracker” is a timeless piece that is loved the world over and getting to perform and watch that iconic show is something truly special.
If you missed the performance, never fear! RU School of Dance and Theatre will perform “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 10 at 8 p.m., Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. in the Bondurant Auditorium in Preston Hall. “Informance” will grace the Albig Studio Theatre in Peters Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 13.