The Daily Gamecock

USC Dance breaks classical boundaries

The USC Dance Company, amid flowing fabrics and strong instrumental melodies, rehearsed Saturday afternoon for their showcase "Breaking Boundaries," premiering Monday evening. The showcase is directed by assistant professor Thaddeus Davis, featuring original contemporary choreography contributed by assistant professor Tanya Wideman-Davis and Stephanie Wilkins, as well as work developed with dance education students by Stephanie Milling. Along with the faculty of USC, special guest Arturo Fernandez from San Fransisco's Alonzo King LINES Ballet will present a piece he choreographed, "Counterpoint (Revisited)." The performance was powerful in its simplicity and appearance of being effortless; dancers lift and release each other with such ease it is as though the other is simply weightless. Though it was a dress rehearsal, the emotion was palpable even from the last row.

The collection was an interesting combination of pieces, with no two close to the same. While one was an emotionally-charged slow number, another featured a myriad of dancers taking part in blink-and-you-miss-it choreography that portrays a sense of power and strength. Despite their obvious differences, the pieces still retained a cohesive quality. The dancers across the board possessed an incredible degree of talent and fluidity in their movements. It was impossible to focus on just one person, because each dancer held his or her own within every piece.

The motivation for most of the pieces is “an exploration of movement,” according to second-year dance performance student Maia Charanis, a dancer in the showcase.

Each dance is intrinsically different; one is influenced by 1950s and 1960s showgirls, and another by 1970s disco.

The dancers have been rehearsing since the very beginning of the semester, a process that required about two hours of work per day for the dancers.

When asked about her favorite piece of the show, Charanis said, “Picking a favorite…I’m not sure I could to be honest. Each piece offers so much to the dancers and the audience.”

This is the USC Dance Company’s first show of the season. Packed full of emotion, power and incredible choreography, the showcase is destined to be a fantastic start to the semester. The diverse works are tied together under the label of “contemporary,” whether that be ballet or modern themes, making the show an interesting juxtaposition of influences and performance styles.

The show, premiering Monday, will run through Thursday. Each show begins at 7:30 p.m. in Drayton Hall Theatre, directly across from the Horseshoe. Ticketing information can be found on the USC Dance and Theatre website.

“Dancing up on stage can become a very personal, subjective experience. But across the board, it’s always nice when the audience comes open minded. We’re performers,” Charanis said, “and it really makes a difference when the audience is present and engaged.”