On Saturday, November 23, the Repertory Dance Troupe held their Fall Showcase in Shafer Auditorium at Eastern Connecticut State University. Attendees came en masse, from Eastern students to family and friends who came to support their dancers.
At two in the afternoon, the lights went down and the RDT dancers introduced the first number, a choreographed performance to “When I Grow Up”. The crowd cheered and whooped as the dancers marched around the stage, swinging their hands, and interpreting the exuberant, jovial anticipation of a fantasy adult world.
Beyond the opening act, the first act contained numbers that amazed the audience, not just in the pirouettes, flips, and jumps. Their choreography sent social and personal messages to the audience like in the third piece, performed solely by the RDT’s e-board. It juxtaposed Britney Spear’s “Wonmanizer” with Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, to make the audience aware about rape culture. The choreography synchronized with this juxtaposition, asking the audience to deter from this sort of sexist objectification that creates and reinforces rape culture.
On the personal side, Rebecca Sanderson went onstage for a solo choreographed to “The Age of Worry.” Under the spotlight, she twirled and jumped around the stage, using her enthusiastic movements to lead the audience to a worry-free life. In the second act, Jessica Ristow’s solo piece, “Keep Your Head Up”, reminded the audience to remain positive. Ristow’s danced with confidence across the stage, reinforcing the theme from Sanderson’s piece, guiding the audience to a carefree, determined state of mind.
The second act continued where the first act left off with the energetic and creative performances including the twelfth and sixteenth numbers. The former, choreographed to the “Hip Hop Police”, combined costuming with tap dancing to create a fun romp with the conflict between authority and the hip-hop artists. The latter, concluding the showcase, includes the RDT’s seventy-two dancers as they danced on and offstage, through the aisles, concluding with a series of hands reaching out from stage-left and right.
It was not just RDT that performed on stage; they shared it with Eastern’s other dance groups. From Fusion’s rhythmic performance, the Modern Movement’s interpretation of Lindsey Striling’s Crystalize, to the Dance Team’s entry for the Spring 2013 Nationals, it was a showcase of both competitive spirit and passion for the arts. Jessica Ristow, the president of RDT, talks about how she and the Troupe e-board gathered all these dance groups together.
“We were able to make contact with the E-boards of each group and they all quickly replied with a ‘Yes!’” Jessica Ristow said.
What makes the RDT showcase an emotionally, well-executed performance goes beyond the countless hours of practice. Carlie Bermani-McCann, a dancer for RDT, talks about the bonds between the entire Troupe, allowing the performances to shine.
“Our team members are our sisters and everyone supports one another through thick and thin, in dance and outside of dance. My RDT sisters are my best friends and my biggest supporters,” Carlie Bermani-McCann said.
The Troupe’s close, familial bonds show through the choreographed performances that drew the audiences into the world of interpretive dance. Jessica Ristow talks about the showcase’s successful turnout and the efforts by both the e-board and the Troupe.
“This was one of our most successful shows in Troupe history! There was a full house and a really excited audience. This season was one our shortest ever and the girls exceeded expectations in learning seven big group numbers, several combinations, and a few solos,” Ristow said.
With the sold-out performance, the Repertory Dance Troupe leaves the audience looking forward to their Spring Showcase.