“Illuminate” mesmerizes audience

Flashlights and light bulbs lit up the stage on Friday night as dancers brought them to life in a series of dances in a concert titled “Illuminate”.

Held in the Performing Arts Center Dance Theater, the performances were a part of a Master of Fine Arts Thesis concert for graduate student Crystal Lewis.

The five performances, set to classical music, mesmerized the audience as they combined common household lighting with modern dance movement to create different shadows, silhouettes and shapes on stage.

Lewis opted to use simple lighting elements such as tap lights, light bulbs and flashlights rather than traditional stage lighting to create an “exploration” of light and body movement.

In each piece, the audience got a different view of the human body. At times they saw the full body while at other times only the torso, arms and legs.

Flashlights hung high over the stage in a piece titled “Accumulate”. It opened with a single dancer moving in precise counts under a small beam of light. The movement rippled across the stage until all dancers were each lit by the beam of a flashlight.

Then, they swung the lights around the stage and toward the audience, creating a 3-D effect that wowed the audience.

“It was beautiful,” Adorina Nguyen, junior dance major, said.

“It was amazing how something so simple like a flashlight can make a beautiful performance.”

In the final piece titled “Luminescent,” the dancers created a playful mood with light bulbs hanging at different heights above the stage.

The dance began with few dancers coming out on stage and interacting with the light bulbs. Some dancers were scared of light, others were curious about it while others kept trying to reach it.

“I thought it was genius,” Nguyen said of the use of light bulbs.

“In dance, we concentrate so much on the colors of the lights and how they will make things look. In this concert, we got a 360 view of it.”

For Lewis, who has been working on her thesis since last semester, the concert represented a major moment in her dance career.

She said she felt “fulfilled and blessed” to see her vision finally come to the stage.

As a part of a thesis, the next stage for Lewis includes a writing portion and defense of her concert for a thesis committee, but not without a much-needed rest.

“I would like to keep some of the choreography and maybe go further with it,” she said. “The sky is the limit.”

The concert was also fulfilling for members of the audience who were buzzing with excitement after the concert.

“That was the best freakin’ thesis I’ve ever seen,” Amy Llanes, dance alumnus, said. “The thought process, the choreography, and the dancers were phenomenal.”

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