Cultural Arts Review

27 05 2011

Abby Murray-Nikkel

Mr. Haning

Varsity Chorus 1b

May 27, 2011

“Dancing with Daddy”

This past weekend I had the pleasure of going to the dance recital of Alpha and Omega Dance Academy at Methodist University. The recital’s theme was “Dancing with Daddy” and it featured boys and girls from ages three to eighteen. I have not seen a dance recital in years, so I was excited and curious to see what I would think of the show. The overall quality of the show varied widely with the age of the performers. They performed all types of dance, including lyrical, modern, hip hop, and jazz. I enjoyed seeing the contrast in different types of dance. Some were very upbeat and modern, while others were deep and thought provoking.

Seeing the very young children perform brought back many childhood memories of dancing. It surprised me how similar the dance moves these children were doing to the moves I learned fifteen or so years ago: holding hands and running in a circle, jumping in and out. I supposed that three and four year-olds are only capable of so much, so their routines don’t change much over time. It was cute to see all of these children on stage in their elaborate costumes, although most of the time they were not together in their movements. It was amazing, however, to observe the difference in performance by age group. The difference between a three-year-old and a five-year-old, or between a five-year-old and a seven-year-old, is more significant than one may think. Their ability to stay together and remember when to do which moves is the most obvious difference, but even more, I noticed a difference in confidence level and stage presence among the different age groups. It is worth noting that the dancers seemed more confident with age. This could stem from more experience with dance, or just from more self-confidence in general.

The age group I enjoyed watching most was the oldest group. They performed lyrical, modern, and jazz dances. Their precision and accuracy allowed me to observe things about dancing that I could not get from watching toddlers prance around the stage. I began to notice the difference of focus in each type of dance. In jazz, the dance was all about the music. The costumes and extravagant dance moves matched the song, and the dance was perfectly on beat. It is all about stage presence and putting on a show. Lyrical dance is unlike any other. I found that it emphasized the visual images perceived by the audience. The music had no words, as the visual became more important than the aural. It focused on the lines and angles formed by the dancers and tried to create a visually pleasing balance on stage. Not all of the dancers were dressed alike, and they often did different moves at once. Modern dance was in some ways, a cross between the two former types. All of the dancers were dressed alike and did the same moves throughout the dance, and the music had lyrics. However, modern dance, like lyrical, focused on the meaning of the song to each dancer, instead of putting on a show. The focus of modern dance was to interpret the music; it looked like a story to illustrate the music was unfolding before my eyes.

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