By Frances Marion Givhan
Photos by Kimberly Williams (C’17)
Perpetual Motion, due to the student-run nature of the organization, has the ability to skillfully weave together different styles of dance into a mesmerizing performance. This year, the choreographers and dancers possessed incredible amounts of energy, skill, and expression on the Guerry Auditorium stage on March 31 – April 2. From the “Missy Mix” dance where the dancers gave the audience amazing choreography and sassy facial expressions, to the slower numbers like Arthur Ndoumbe’s (C’16) “Metamorphose,” Perpetual Motion gave a show full of passion.
Each night began with an 80’s inspired dance.With hot pink and blue leotards and leg warmers, the dancers on the stage stood out against the darkness of the auditorium. The group numbers always gathered cheers from the audience, as oftentimes the more dancers on the stage, the more energy resonated throughout the room. Though “Of Course We Are Excited,” choreographed by Ndoumbe, did not have the same precise choreography of other dances, it started the whole show by inducing audience enthusiasm for the rest of the performance.
Cindy Cruz (C’16) and Adreyauna Lewers (C’16) also choreographed a large group dance that wowed and excited the audience. The dancers set themselves in place in darkness, and from the moment the lights came up, nothing could attract my attention elsewhere. Half of the dancers wore bright red skirts that contrasted them from the other half of the pure white costumes, and “The Roots of Afro-Latinx Rhythm” melded together two cultures in a sensual, beautiful way. The dancers had plenty of chemistry, particularly during their partner moves, and the audience could really feel the rhythm of the music. Cruz’s enthusiasm, smile, and cheers as she danced infected the audience with excitement.
Adding to the diversity of dances they performed, other numbers took a darker tone. Alyssa Holley (C’18) choreographed and danced in a number to the song “Bottom of the River” by Delta Rae, and the choreography was simultaneously gorgeous and frightening. Each dancer brought so much passion to the piece, so much dedication with each move, that the choreography perfectly suited the song’s Southern gothic theme. For this dance in particular, the dancers seemed to engage in the acting out of the song’s story, and Danielle Silfie’s (C’19) hand grasping for something unseen to the audience at the end of the song added to the eerie quality.
Of course, I have to mention the soloists of Perpetual Motion. Ndoumbe, Callie Holloway (C’18), and Ellie Clark (C’18) all performed solos throughout the show that took a break from the usual high energy pieces and painted strokes of beauty and grace to the performance. Holloway’s dance to Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” brought elegant moves to a dark song, and Erin Moore’s (C’18) haunting lighting design added life to the piece. Ndoumbe’s “Metamorphose” highlighted the masterful control and strength that he has as a dancer, with precise, controlled movements that awed the audience with their beauty. Clark chose to perform a dance to “Hallelujah,” and every movement had perfect timing. Her graceful and impassioned dance created an amazing contrast between dance styles, and it captured the song’s theme perfectly.
Then, last but certainly not least, and maybe the best of all – the dance that everyone sits in anticipation for the entire show – “Sexyhood of Man, Part 2.” Fridien Nana Tchoukoua (C’17), a dedicated veteran of Perpetual Motion, completely outdid himself with the high energy choreography, complexity of the dance moves, and bringing out the potential of each dancer. The audience applauded from the beginning of the piece to the end, and who could help it, when muscular, talented men dance on that stage in exercise pants and blazers? The song choices – from Rihanna’s “Work” to Ariana Grande’s “One Last Time” – controlled the energy of the dance, never completely taking it away. When asked about her favorite parts of the program, Joey Adams (C’18) said, “From half-showing to full-showing, it’s beautiful progression, and everybody is excited to see the final look: the whole dance, the energy that goes into it, as well as the facial expressions, not to mention the best part: the costumes.”