“Tied Together: A Tapestry of Dance” weaves color into the COVID-19 pandemic

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From the red suave of the UVU ballroom company flaming across the stage to the contrasting rhythmic movements of the contemporary ensemble, UVU Dance Departments virtual concert “Tied Together: A Tapestry of Dance” promises entertainment for every viewer.  You might want to break out the blue light glasses for this one.

The annual concert, which typically brings together the different dance companies on campus, looked eerily different through a computer screen, and yet the show was still beautifully similar to years past. This similarity is likely due to the department’s strategic approach to presenting not only a great show but more importantly, a show which protects the health and safety of those involved. 

“Our annual Gala concert (this year entitled Tapestry of Dance) is usually a live performance of the best works from each of our performing companies—Contemporary Dance Ensemble, Repertory Ballet Ensemble, Synergy Dance Company, and the Ballroom Dance Companies. This year, due to Covid, we were unable to have a live show and decided to stream a ‘Best of’ show from all of last year’s company concerts,” said Monica Campbell, the Dance Department Chair. “All of our companies have their own fans and followers, but the Gala concert is the one time per year that all of our companies perform on one stage on one night, so audience members get to see the work of companies they may not have seen in the past.” 

Though the dances in the concert may have been recycled from last year, the use of a highly stylized virtual platform gave the show new life. Smooth transitions that acted as a built-in program announced each piece with confidence and excitement. While the reactions of the original audience played with each routine, giving the illusion of a live show at The Noorda. 

The ballroom company kicked off the night’s virtual performance with a piece entitled “Jazzy Bad,” a nod  to Michael Jackson’s pop hit “Bad.” The piece, performed by the ballroom company’s tour team was high energy, complete with intricate formation changes and dynamic partnering. 

In contrast, the Contemporary Dance Ensemble or CDE, took to the stage with more subtle energy, offering the audience a brief intermission from the high power ballroom routine preceding it. This number, entitled, “Coincidences” was choreographed by Mike Esperanza, and it featured dancers moving gracefully around the stage in a classic modern style.  

The ballroom company returned to the stage with a new focus on partner work in their next piece “Rise” choreographed by tour team director Tara Boyd. The entire first half of the dance highlighted three couples completing complex partnering sequences. It finished with the entire company taking the stage to join the three couples moving to the fierceness of Katy Perry’s “Rise.” 

In “Caravanserai,” a dance by the Repertory Ballet Ensemble that was choreographed by Jamie A. Johnson in collaboration with the dancers, each performer sported classic pointe shoes. The piece isolated the line between classical ballet repertoire and modern dance and features intricate pointe work.

Lime green dresses lit up the stage in  “Timbale,” the second to last piece in the concert. The ballroom company raided the stage with its confidence and power once again in this piece choreographed by  Tara Boyd.

The ballroom company’s final performance was followed by Synergy Dance Company, who took to the stage in nude pigments. This concluding piece entitled “Remnants”, choreographed by Andy Noble, brought the audience back down after the energy-filled night.

Overall, each team graced the stage with confidence and technique inviting audience members into their respective dance worlds. The command each company had even through the blue light of a computer screen, kept this writer enthralled straight through to the end. 

“Tied Together: A Tapestry of Dance” ran virtually Feb. 19-20. For those interested in future performances by the dance department please view a detailed list of dates and times here.