Theatre Intime’s lights dim, and a group of dancers gathers onstage to scream “Body, body, hype, hype!” into the silence. BodyHype Dance Company began its fall semester show, Fahrenheit, with the heat turned up — but made sure to let us know it can also cool things down.
Fahrenheit’s opening numbers emanated swagger and humor. But just as the audience started to settle in, the dancers switched it up, most surprisingly with an experimental interpretation of a remixed “No Quarter” by Led Zeppelin. This intrepidly weird, chilling piece opened with a congregation of figures swaying eerily beneath a white sheet and building into organized chaos, each dancer moving as if disconnected from the rest. Immediately afterwards, bright colors returned to the dancers’ outfits as they moved jubilantly and harmoniously to another throwback – A-ha’s “Take On Me.” The costumes were an integral part of every performance. As varied as the dances, they ranged from entirely uniform to entirely individualized.
The dramatic stylistic shifts were effective, as BodyHype knew how and when to draw the audience into the dancers’ mood. A carefree piece seamlessly gave way to a gritty or pensive performance. In both the promo and the show itself, BodyHype focused on attitude and essence, rather than the narrative style at which BAC excels. The dancers took advantage of the unpredictability and freedom this approach afforded them.
The choreography and soundtrack swung from lighthearted to tense while maintaining a sense of spaciousness throughout. One of the show’s highlights was a performance entitled “Bandersnatch,” which is chill-inducing from start to finish. The dancers moved effortlessly through Beyoncé and André 3000’s cover of “Back to Black,” yet gradually created an atmosphere fraught with interpersonal friction.
In pieces such as “BBO” and “Rehearsal is Cancelled,” BodyHype made sure to give the audience the heat it promised, but not without including a couple of warm moments. “Fulfillment” was a tender piece about learning to love oneself in order to love others fully. It served as a reminder that dance is about more than just entertainment; it is also a way to practice and impart self-love.
This fall show was the type of performance that makes you want to dance in your seat and forget where you are entirely. This dance company was not afraid to take unexpected risks and fully realize them. BodyHype was doing its own thing, but with such an eclectic show also managed to do practically everything in “Fahrenheit.”