Sam Houston State University’s Chi Tau Epsilon hosted Dances@8 this past weekend at the Gaertner Performing Arts Center.
Dances@8 is a semiannual student produced show that features a multitude of dances by different Chi Tau Epsilon members. It was easy to forget that everything was choreographed by students, not by professionals.
There was no way to know what to expect as every routine changed with the dancer’s style and preferences. Some students performed duets, others solos or full ensembles. Some integrated multiple songs and light shows in their pieces, while others used the power of silence and simplicity.
There’s much to say about the 12 unique routines but one sentence seems to sum it up; whether the dancers undressed on stage, used scrims and chairs for props or had an unprecedented video dance, they all made fearless choices. There were a few bold choices that paid off.
The first piece presented was “Mid Daze” choreographed and performed by DeeDee Bourdo in collaboration with Ke’Ron Wilson. Their song “Break My Stride” matched their upbeats movements which featured modern dance trends such as the Whip, Nae Nae and dabbing.
This dance was the first in Dances@8 history to be entirely projected onto a screen. The music video allowed the audience to go outside of the dance theater and onto rooftops. There was a lot of personality and humor infused in the routine.
Another piece called “Swing Left” also had a lot of personality but it was more sass than lightheartedness. It was as if choreographer Kaelab Edwards turned the movie “Mean Girls” into a dance. Their matching black sleek unitards, high pony tails and synchronized movement made them seem cliquey.
The dancers Courtney Sherman-Allen, Michelle McKay and Abby McBroom gave new meaning to girl power. Their song “Night Jewel” by Andy Scott was simple but their routine was not. They were fierce but feminine.
“Philia” was the exact opposite of having a hive like mind. From the moment Kanye West’s piercing “Freestyle 4” came on, it was obvious the dance was about competition. Britney McGarity and Eva Gonzalez’s movements were very raw and primal. They fed off of each other’s aggressive energy and fueled each other.
Another pair that fueled each other was “Neuron but You” by Bekah Adkins and Autumn Harms. However, instead of competitiveness, they were sisterly.
As if the song “Happy” by Jennifer Gasoi wasn’t enough, the smiles on the dancer’s faces proved how carefree they were while dancing. They were energetic, playful and adorable. The duo often leaned on each other and at one point Adkins even jumped on Harms’ back as if they were playing a children’s game. No other performance was so innocent and fun to watch like this one because it appealed to everyone’s inner child.
Everyone flaunted their creativity, talent and athleticism and the public should come to next year’s versatile Dances@8 to see Chi Tau Epsilon do Sam Houston State University proud.