‘Dance Dammit!’ Showcases Choreography of Student Dancers
by Rebecca Bachman


To even the most inexperienced and unappreciative viewer, “Dance Dammit!” produced by UCSB’s own Dance Company on April 9-11, was inescapably intriguing, exciting, creative and exhilarating. Not only did  the dancers put in countless hours to learn, practice and perfect their performances, but all the dances  — save for the final piece  — were choreographed entirely by four talented dance majors who are graduating this June.

The first piece, “Simplex Munditis,” was immediately engaging as dancers rolled out from behind the curtains pushing big, white cubes toward center stage.  They constructed a tall contraption to dance behind and around before destroying it and re-using the cubes as versatile props. Lauren Serrano, a sophomore dancer, expressed how fascinating it was to explore the various ways she and other dancers could use their bodies to move the cubes: using the their legs to lift the cubes over their heads and to other dancers. Choreographed by Michele Wong, this piece had seven dynamic dancers, intense costumes, and vibrant, vigorous movement, all to the tune of energetic electro Ratatat.
The second piece, A Plexus of Prose, choreographed by Katie Johnson, was a more subdued, ballet-like showcase of the dancers’ talent. Five dancers in beautiful, flowing skirts reminiscent of medieval costumes began with subtle movements to strange, obnoxious sounds. As the music progressed and increased in complexity and palatableness, so too did the movements of dancers.  It culminated to a stunning and lively detailed coordination of spinning and twirling all enhanced by the flowing spirit of the delightfully, colorful material of the costumes.
Katrina Lee choreographed Surge, which was packed with symbolism that audience members could interpret in various ways. It began with a lone dancer, Mia Orozcom, all in white, in front of a long, flowing, vibrant red cloth held up by eight unseen dancers. They slowly and meticulously emerged from behind the red cloth to reveal that each of their costumes had a smaller red piece of material.  Orozcon was marked as the unique outsider influenced by the uniformity of the rest. After an outstanding duet with Orozcom and Ashley Bonner, Orozcom’s character seemed to earn her piece of flowing red fabric, and the dynamic changed as the previously powerful group was now influenced by her apparent new power. All of this was to the captivating tune of rhythmic Japanese music.
Maggie Jones’ Forfeit Forgetfulness was full of vigorous intensity to re-engage the audience after intermission. The strikingly creative and powerful dance featured four outstanding dancers: Brittany Amoroso, Sabrina Johnson, Lauren Serrano and Myra Joy Veluz. They were grouped in duos in front of portions of metal wall, hanging near the front of stage right and stage left. The characters experienced similar traumatizing events despite being physically separated. These events were characterized by a series of painstakingly organized but chaotic convulsions and the animated expressions on the dancers’ faces. For the first portion of the dance, the background consisted of dancers pacing from curtain to curtain, reading newspapers. The duos were inspiring and passionate throughout the captivating dance.
The final piece was reminiscent of an aquarium, complete with connected, graceful fluidity of the dancers, the music and the relaxing lighting. Marimba was choreographed in 1976 by Lar Lubovitch, a pioneer in the choreography of dances to minimalist music. The costumes and actions of each individual were simple, but collectively they gave the impression of an elegant school of fish  — green, blue, brown, and yellow  — with momentous movements governed by rippling effects: the actions of each dancer affected all of the other dancers. Choreographed to peaceful yet lively music, the trance-like piece successfully absorbed audience members and dancers alike.
UCSB’s department of Theater and Dance put on an extraordinarily impressive performance which would not have been possible without the infinite dedication of tireless dancers and the immeasurable creative efforts of choreographers, all of whom are busy students with an inspirational level of enthusiasm for dance.