Random Acts of Dance is just that

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The stage was set for the Dance Department’s latest concert and as guests quickly packed in the seats, they were greeted by a headless and limbless manikin with an open wound exposing the heart – random.

Random was the theme for City College Dance Department’s spring performance “Random Acts of Dance.”

Six performances choreographed by six different instructors entertained audiences May 7 and 8.

Each piece, running approximately eight minutes, told a story. From beginning to end, the dancers used their bodies to communicate the visions of the instructors at City.

Some pieces, like “Surreal Obstacles,” began with an a capella solo sung by a dancer. Adding another medium to the dance captured the audience and set the tone for the dance. This piece was visually appealing because it showed a video featuring the dancers in a rural setting performing the same choreography.

Although the choreography featured basic core movements, jetes and plies, the styles are difficult to describe. The movements are too random to be considered a ballet or jazz piece.

However, this kept the audience’s attention.

Most of the pieces featured a small group of dancers, even soloists, performing a short sequence, and then persisting to run back off stage for the next group’s turn. Because the movements were so random, keeping the sections limited in dancers allows for a cleaner piece. The opposite was seen when a large number recited a sequence. The various technique levels of the dancers left these sections sloppy.

Acrobatics, breathing and voices of the dancers added to the random acts.

Numbers like “180 Beats per Minute,” choreographed by Debi Toth-Ward, used the focus of the way the bodies’ curves move. I would rename this dance the “6-pack dance” because the dancers’ physique and costuming kept the audience fixated on the power of the body.

Each dance focused on an issue at hand. The dancers took us on a journey to understand emotions, friendship and communication and even took us into our homes focusing on budget cuts and border crossing.

Because many of the dancers are in more than one piece, 10-minute breaks took place between each dance. This was random and left the audience wondering if there was enough time for a stretch.

The audience was filled with friends, family and students from all across the county. Many UCSD students gathered to support their instructors, like Terry Wilson, and to see their work come to life.

Instructors and students took all semester to prepare this concert, and in two days and three performances it was over. Teachers and students share positive emotion when asked how they think it went, many eager to create next years.

Brittany Johnson is the City Times co-arts editor

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