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LCC Dance Festival scores


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POSTED: Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Diverse, dynamic and entertaining are just a few words that describe Leeward Community College's Dance Festival 2009.

From high-energy hip-hop to emotionally evoking contemporary works, Dance Festival 2009, which took place Friday and Saturday, allowed its audience a window into the minds of some of Hawaii's most talented performers. Audience members gasped, laughed, cried and cheered as the dancers whirled, leapt and barreled about the stage.

The 11 works presented offered an eclectic array of aesthetics and styles. And while some works were stronger than others, each piece played an important role in the production.

One of the shortest pieces in the show left the most lasting impression. “;Hide and Seek,”; choreographed by Phillip Amer Kelley and performed by Shelby Benson and Shelby Wardle, was an intense contemporary duet about a struggle with inner demons. Costumed in stark white pseudo-straightjackets, which later opened up to permit the dancers a greater range of movement, the dancers twisted and turned about the stage as they fought to understand who and what they were. From intricate partnering to acrobatic leaps over a bench, “;Hide and Seek”; unfolded unpredictably, yet it was unsettlingly familiar.

Opening the second half was “;Behind Closed Doors,”; choreographed by Giinko Marischino under the direction of Sami L.A. Akuna. This intense modern piece comprised an intricate blend of tableaux, pedestrian movement and modern choreography, addressing the distressing story of the trafficking of human beings into slavery and prostitution.

Presented in a series of vignettes, Marischino forced the audience to relive the experiences of detainees. As the work progressed, the dancers were systematically removed from the stage until only one remained, cast in a small light of hope that slowly faded as the story came to a devastating close.

“;After (A reflection of love and friendship),”; choreographed by Anna Womack and presented by Taiko Center of the Pacific, was a perfect selection to close the show. As the second of two pieces to incorporate live music, “;After”; resonated long after the music ceased. The juxtaposition of strong, rhythmic drumming against the peaceful blue lighting drew in the audience. The use of call and response among the drummers proved riveting and powerful as thunderous beats bounced about the room.

Overall, Dance 2009 did not disappoint.

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Robyn Franklin is a co-founder of Sacramento State Dance Alliance and a former member of Eukinetics Dance Company. Since moving to Hawaii she has been accepted as a member of IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre.