Baylor Dance Company mixes modern, classical

By Jamie Lim

While the dancers looked at their watches to check the time, the light surrounding the audience starts to dim. Suddenly the bright stage lights begin to shine on 16 poised dancers. Then their music begins.

On Friday and Saturday, the Baylor Dance Company performed in its annual spring showcase. The dancers of the company were confident and dominated the Jesse H. Jones Theatre stage in Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center.

There are three officers for Baylor Dance Company: Burley, Idaho, senior Shelly Danielson, president; Kaufman junior Tierney Boss, secretary; and Shreveport, La., junior Natalie Smith, treasurer.

“For the three years I have been here, it’s been the best so far,” Danielson said. “I think it was overall successful.”

Dance showcases typically begin with an opener. The Baylor Dance Company opened its showcase with an upbeat jazz routine to “Beautiful People” by Chris Brown.

Nacogdoches freshman Hannah Perry is a member of the group and participated in the event.

“My favorite dance is the opener because it’s really jazzy and upbeat,” Perry said, “I feel like it’s a fun way to open the show.”

For fellow dancers in the audience, one song may have sounded quite familiar. “Magalenha” by Sergio Mendez was used for a dance in the Fox series “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Dallas sophomore Mariel Alba choreographed the “Magalenha” dance in the showcase. It was a jazzy-modern routine filled with leaps, turns and fierceness.

“I think overall my dancers did awesome,” Alba said, “This piece was definitely a showstopper and I think the audience definitely remembered it at the end of the show.”

There was also a pointe dance, which is a form of ballet where dancers perform on the tip of their toes. The dancers in the performance looked like classic ballerinas with their white tutus glistening on stage.

A crowd favorite was the high-energy kick routine “Cell Block Tango,” choreographed by Boss. The routine was filled with high kicks and even a contagion, that had the audience applauding.

“My favorite costume was the kick to ‘Cell Block Tango,’” Alba said, “It was really edgy and sparkly red.”

There were also many contemporary routines like the one to “Boy With a Coin” by Iron and Wine. Danielson choreographed the dance with movements that flowed into one another smoothly.

“I thought for the most part it went well, especially with the lighting help us get into the mood of it,” Danielson said. “From what I heard from friends and families, they really enjoyed it and thought it was unique.”

Another contemporary routine was “My Smile,” choreographed by Smith. The costumes were simple and resembled outfits that people on a normal basis would wear, like bandanas and jean shorts.

Although Baylor Dance Company opened the show to an energetic jazz routine, it closed the show on a softer note. The last dance was a contemporary routine to “Bluebird” by Sara Bareilles.

“For ‘Bluebird’ we were wearing black on the bottom with a simple blue top,” Perry said, “I thought that was really pretty with the dance because there were a lot of parts — it was something simple, but pretty.”

In addition to group performances, there were also three solos. One lyrical solo was performed by Prescott, Ariz., sophomore Mariah Franklin. Then two contemporary solos were performed by Danielson and Nojoumian, a junior from Richardson.

“For me when I choreograph a solo, I want to do it to a song I love with movements that I think go with the emotion of the song.” Danielson said.

Not only did Baylor Dance Company perform, but so did students from Baylor’s Tap II class. Meredith Sutton, faculty member in dance and choreography, choreographed the tap routine to “The Fixer” by Pearl Jam. The performers kept their feet tapping to the fast pace choreography.

Dancers from Joy’s School of Dance, a dance facility in Waco, performed as well. The dance school had three performances in the showcase.

“It’s nice to show people in the community who do dance,” Danielson said, “It’s not just us as a group but other dancers out there that love dance as much as we do.”

Both Baylor Dance Company’s kick routine and Joy’s School of Dance prop routine to “Hot Honey Rag” were set to songs from the Broadway musical “Chicago.” The dancers’ prop was a glittered cane that shined brightly in the stage lights.

Their second performance was a lyrical to “Fix You” by Coldplay, and their last performance of the showcase was a tap routine to “Orange Blossom Special.”

In addition to Baylor Dance Company’s annual spring showcase, students can also see the dancers perform at other Baylor events, such as Baylor homecoming, and even in the Waco community. Auditions for the dance company will be held in September.