By Landon James
The Performing Arts Club’s (PAC) Fall Big Show was more than a big hit on campus last weekend. On Saturday, Nov. 22nd at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Nov. 23rd at 2 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium, both performances rocked the very foundations of George Washington Hall.
“I thought it went amazing, and I think it is one of the strongest shows we’ve had in a long time,” said PAC President Alex Lindemann. “The choreography explored new movement and took new risks while other pieces were fun and uplifting.”
The show, called “Eugenius,” marks the 10th anniversary of the passing of acclaimed MWC professor Eugene A. Roscoe. Both shows were dedicated to his memory. When there was still a dance major at Mary Washington, Roscoe led the Dance Company and created a cohesive and superior functioning dance program for the school.
Every Fall Big Show since his passing has been dedicated to his “genius” and through PAC the dancers hope to keep his memory alive.
The show consisted of 14 pieces and was a firestorm of primal energy and sensual, poetic beauty fused together into a smooth and cohesive masterpiece. It was dance at its best, to say the very least.
Of the 14 pieces, there were a few that stood out to entice the mind and showcase the incredibly underestimated talent of Mary Washington’s dance program.
The third performance of the program, set to Hellogoodbye’s “I Saw it on Your Keyboard,” was a high-energy techno explosion of 80s jazzercise ballet. There was no limit to the versatility of the piece, which climaxed when the lights went down on stage and the dancers, adorned with glow sticks and glow bands, came out and finished the piece in electric splendor.
However, despite the magnificence of the glow sticks, nothing could prepare the audience for the seventh piece of the show.
Set to Pink Floyd’s “I’m Going To Cut You Into Little Pieces,” 16 dancers were divided into two groups: the Goodies (wearing white) and the Baddies (wearing black). It was by far the most complex production of the night.
The piece began by covering the entire stage with thick layers of fog while the opening chords of Pink Floyd hit the ears of the audience. The entire piece was a constant battle of black and white, Goodies and Baddies, and raw tribal power that combined samurai moves with vicious energy.
As the dancers continued to paint this disturbingly beautiful and raw piece onstage, the demonic voices of Pink Floyd in the background took the audience into a creepy, mesmerizing trance.
It was like an acid trip for the eyes and PAC truly outdid themselves. It was genius and poetry, much like Pink Floyd.
After the Pink Floyd performance, the show took a quick intermission and when they came back, PAC had a surprise that nobody saw coming.
Lindemann formally presented a check for $700 to Kathy Anderson from the Rappahannock Council on Domestic Violence. PAC raised the money completely on their own and wanted to give back to the community. It only went to show that there are many aspects of PAC that many are never aware of.
Other pieces to note during the performance were “What Really Happened to Giselle?” which consisted of eight dancers, all dressed in white except for one dressed in black, who appeared and danced like fleeting specters surrounding a black magician.
The performance was highly theatrical and terrifying in its beauty and dancing while strobe lights and fog added to the creepy aura hanging about the stage.
The sensual duet “Lost” showcased a softer, more intimate side of the program and was like two souls struggling against each other to break free. It was passion and beauty.
The show quickly acquiesced through pieces displaying high-energy sultry dancing (“Red Hot” by Three 6 Mafia) to pieces showing the elegance (“Follow Me” by Justin Nozuka) that the audience by this time had come to expect from the dancers in the show.
Overall, the show was an amazing blend of superior choreography, fantastic lighting and stage direction, and most of all, the creation of beautiful performance art.
Jillian Guido, senior and fourth year PAC and dance team member, choreographed “Lost.” She noticed that this year’s Big Show is different from past years in that many new dancers were used.
“We have for the first time a lot of new people showcasing their talents. In the past we have used freshman, but we normally used more experienced dancers. This year we are really trying to use the new talent,” Guido said.
Suzanne Lewis and Jennifer Rokasky, key choreographers and PAC alumni, noticed that this year’s show was a step forward and up from their past shows.
“I thought it was very strong,” said Lewis. “I’ve been around for a lot of Big Shows and this one was very strong.”
“I’m very impressed,” said Rokasky. “Big Show has gone through fluctuations and it has gone up and down in numbers. It is a great turnout and there is a lot of talent.”
Keep on the lookout for dates of PAC’s spring Small Show and Big Show to support a program of this school which does not get the attention it deserves.