Audience experiences stories through dance

By definition, dance is the act of moving to music. At Saturday’s Spring Spectacular, Synergy proved there is more to it than that — it can also be a method of storytelling.

With meaning behind its choreography, the College’s dance company conveyed messages about the loss of a loved one, body image and child abuse.

Dancers explore heavy issues like death and self image at Synergy’s dance event. (Janika Berridge / Photo Assistant)

However, not all of the topics were as heavy. From musical numbers to some booty-shaking Beyoncé, Synergy’s 13th annual recital featured a variety of styles — including tap, hip-hop, ballet, pointe and modern. Starting off energetically, the show opened with the entire company dancing to Florence + the Machine’s “Shake It Out.”

The atmosphere became much more serious for “This Woman’s Work.” The stage remained dark as sounds of a car starting, speeding down the road and crashing played overhead. Sirens wailed as dancers Jonathan Velez (choreographer and one of Synergy’s captains) and Cecilia Muscarella (also a captain) took the stage. Muscarella wore white, representing a ghost, as Velez’s character struggled to say goodbye for the last time.

Another powerful piece Velez choreographed was “Lovely,” which was about learning to love one’s self. “I found myself questioning each move, spacing and formation, wondering if I was being true to the struggle of body image in today’s society,” the senior said.

When the song started, six dancers wore tanktops with X’s and dotted lines, representing the marks made before plastic surgery. By the end, each dancer confidently ripped off her shirt, standing in only a black sports bra.

“I loved the idea of them taking off their plastic surgery marked shirts to show them breaking free from the stigma that body image has, and also showing that being ‘lovely’ is being who you are and being proud of that,” Velez said.

Junior Cecilia Muscarella choreographed “Concrete Angel,” focusing on the tragedy of child abuse. As stated in the dance’s intro, approximately five children in the United States are lost each day to abuse-related deaths. The chills-inducing number began with a dancer in angel wings laying next to a child’s gravestone.

Gianna Arfuso, senior and Synergy vice president, dedicated an equally emotional dance “Over You” to men and women serving in the military. Arfuso was inspired by personal experience; her fiancé is Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

“The dance was about the pain of having to get through every day and missing the person you love the most,” Arfuso said. “I never know what the Army will throw my way, but the pride that I have for what my fiancé has chosen to do is immense.”

“Heist,” a hip-hop performance choreographed by captain and senior Brianna Farrell, was another highlight of the show. The dancers wore black hoodies, as two members of the group broke into a safe, where a dancer popped out holding a bag of stolen money. Another creative number by Farrell was “Enter the Sandman,” which told the story of what goes on when people fall asleep. As one dancer yawns at her pillow, her mind is awakened to monsters moving about.

The show concluded on a sentimental — yet fierce — note as the Synergy seniors took the stage for their final dance. Channeling Beyoncé, the group worked it to “Crazy In Love.”

In between dances, two of the College’s musical groups performed. The Trentones sang an impressive cover of “Somebody I Used to Know” by Gotye. Later on, the Treblemakers, the all-female acapella group, sang two songs, including “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This).”

Of course, a recap of the recital would be incomplete without mentioning the show’s emcee: this year’s Mr. Synergy, Michael Dezmin.

Wearing the crown he earned at the male dance pageant, the senior health and exercise science major cracked jokes and kept the crowd amused between acts.