R. City was formed in 2003 by brothers Theron and Timothy Thomas, who go by the stage names A.I. and Uptown AP, respectively. R. City is actually behind plenty of well-known songs. Having written and produced numerous hits, including Sean Kingston’s “Take You There,” Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop,” Nicki Minaj’s “Only,” and Rihanna’s “Man Down,” R. City’s musical wheelhouse extends far beyond its most well-known single.
This Friday, I arrived at the American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School studio at the Princeton Shopping Center about 15 minutes prior to its run-through of “Pride and Prejudice,” Douglas Martin’s full-length ballet based on the classic novel.
“Well you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk.” With these classic words from the Bee Jees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” Saturday Night Fever, a musical based on the 1977 film of the same name, introduces Tony Manero to the audience.
Becoming an RCA at Princeton is highly competitive. The application for becoming an RCA has multiple stages, which, depending on the residential college, can include written responses to questions, one-on-one interviews with the DSL, and group interviews with senior RCAs. This week, the Street interviewed some current RCAs to find out more about what this highly sought-after position entails.
There are certain expectations that accompany one to a dance show. One anticipates dancers with beautiful lines, clothed in beautiful costumes moving through the stage in ways that seem to defy gravitational laws and human anatomy. One expects to hear music that somehow perfectly captures the exact quality of movement on stage. And one awaits being swept into a different reality in which movement becomes the best medium to convey pain, passion, love, and what it means to be human. Pilobolus somehow simultaneously defies and exceeds these expectations. Founded in 1971 by a group of students at Dartmouth College, Pilobolus has grown into an internationally acclaimed arts organization, known for its interdisciplinary, experimental approach to movement and storytelling. This past Tuesday, I saw “Shadowland” at McCarter Theater, a collaborative evening length show created by Pilobolus’s dancers and directors and Steven Banks, the lead writer for SpongeBob SquarePants. The show follows a young girl’s dream, in which she is trapped as a shadow behind her bedroom wall. Combining choreography with projected images on multiple, moving screens, Pilobolus uses shadow theater to truly, authentically capture the “shadowland” the girl is attempting to escape. And it was truly unlike any performance I have ever seen in its ability to stray so far away from conventional dance practices so as to redefine and extend the reach and power of movement. Stripped of the tutus or dresses one might typically associate with a dance performance, Pilobolus’s performers moved through the stage predominantly in underwear, sometimes even shedding this extra layer to perform significant sections of choreography in the nude. Their bodies, uncovered and unornamented with frills or tulle, became the sole focus of the audience, drawing attention to the images and characters the dancers could create through the contortion of their own bodies rather than the images or characters that could be projected onto them through clothing and props.
“It is one of our goals to offer our students a diverse range of dance perspectives and traditions to wrestle with physically and artistically,” said Susan Marshall, director and lecturer of dance at Princeton, in reference to the Princeton Dance Festival.