The ingredients for a successful dance performance are rather standard: one part hip-hop, one part sex and one part melodrama, all blended together and sprinkled with some anti-establishment, punk fist-pumps. If this is the recipe, then "Snapshot" proves that the diSiac dance troupe is a master chef. The show reveals not only the kinetic skills of the dancers, but also a rare creativity and talent among choreographers.
"Snapshot" is a compilation of 14 skits, choreographed by current dancers as well as one by Matt Worley '05. The theme behind the title is self-explanatory; each skit is a brief look into a different mind or way of life.
Before the music begins, the entire cast poses on stage, caught in lifts, splits and wide grins, illuminated briefly by the flash of a bulb. When the dancers cling together, dressed in the clothes of different genres, they seem to give a subtle nod to the mix of the savory components needed for success. Indeed, the introductory piece of the performance is a smattering of styles that seamlessly stream together under the spotlight: ballet dancers jive with hip-hop artists, salsa dancers sidle up to punk rockers.
The show thrives on this medley, making for an emotionally frenetic yet titillating mix of seriousness and playfulness. "Shutter," an all-girl, hip hop groove is identifiable by body-rolls and butt-thrusts as clearly being directed by a man (Daniel Gonzalez '06). "Irreparable" is a charming and soft vignette set to an easy a cappella tune. After "Tease," a raw and seductive piece created by Perry Nagin '09, comes "1,000 words," a visual commentary on women as slaves to their gender and race. The piece, directed by Carey Faber '06, is reminiscent of Chicago's "Jailhouse Tango" and focuses on four women dancing solos about their imprisonment.
Penny Enomoto '08 directs the show's most emotional piece, "Love is enough." Set to "Just Breathe" by singer Anna Nalick, it centers on three couples who fight particularly daunting issues: the death of a child killed in combat, a wife with a terminal disease and the unfulfilling relationship between a woman and her closeted husband. While mournful expressions and slow, low dips reflect "Love's" somber sentiment, it is Nora Gross '08's photo montage projected overhead that resonates the most. Among the most powerful photos in the montage, we see images of sophomores Laura Fitzpatrick '08 and Chris Breen '08 joyfully holding their baby. Breen is then shown holding Fitzpatrick at the child's funeral. A private and blissful champagne toast between Laura De Silva '08 and Max Maisonrouge '07 dissolves into a blurry hospital scene.
The screen's black-and-whites are admittedly distracting, but the reason is more Gross' artistry than any lags in the dance's choreography. In fact, many of the dancers stand out as convincing actors. Breen plays the bereaved father with quiet bravado and De Silva is stirringly weak and disheveled as the dying wife.
The most impressive aspect of the show is that the personality of individual choreographers is revealed in their dances. Zack McKinney '07, for example, slams us with enough pounding, fist-thrusting and break-dancing to start a new punk revolution. Cathy Yan '08, in a similarly gritty vein, reveals her spunky urban sophistication in "Coming into Focus," a hip-hop tribute to clashing and overlapping lives on a city street. In these dances not only do we catch a voyeuristic glimpse of the routines of imaginary characters, but also look into the heads of the dancers and directors themselves.
DiSiac does not fail to impress. The show is a diverse and well-executed set of skits that look genuinely enjoyable to perform. The large number of solos allows more dancers to be in the spotlight, and the wide range of choreographers reinforces the sense of diversity in the group. Freshmen make up the largest contingent of the company and promise the emergence of new and outstanding diSiac personalities. This show, which acts as a snapshot of the dancers now, will serve as a standard against which to measure performances to come. Without a doubt, diSiac's "Snapshot" is picture perfect.