Wray Theatre hosts inspiring ‘Works in Progress Dance Concert’

The Rio Hondo dance program hosted a series of dance concerts entitled “Works in Progress” on Nov. 13, 14, and 15 at the Wray Theatre, showcasing the abilities of its best students.

Each two-hour concert featured the same group of dancers each night, however, specific dancers were given solo performances on specific nights.

Each dance throughout the night was also given a unique title.

The opening act, “Leaves in the Stream”, was an extremely progressive and interesting start to the evening in which each young woman danced to the featured music by film director David Lynch.

Lynch’s approach to instrumentation is haunting and erratic, while his spoken word idea of lyricism adds a hypnotic bent to the sounds he creates.

To match this mood, the dancers movements reflected sudden changes in beat and timing in the song.

The next performance was lead by a short excerpt of writings by Ralph Waldo Emerson entitled “The Mountain and the Squirrel had a Quarrel.”

Only two performers were on stage for this piece as each embodied the relationship between the titular Mountain and Squirrel.

Through their actions, Luzely Lopez and Anahi Zapata created a dynamic and meaningful relationship in the span of only a few minutes.

The two hugged, played simple games, and helped one another when their characters were down in a variety of evocative ways.“`

“Hermanos Royal” was entirely performed by the young men of the dance program. This performance emphasized male power and dominance through movement such as small but fast line marches, Herculean posing, and running evoked thoughts of armies at war.

“Locked Loss” took a modern pop song by One Republic to tell the stories of many young couples, a theme that would be repeated through the night.

“Rewind. Back In Time. Can You Dig It?” brought back the heyday of boy and girl pop bands to allow performers the chance to emulate the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys.

The women screaming off stage like the throngs of girls who once reached out for the boy band sensation of the 90’s was a nice touch to the moves taken from and inspired by music videos of the band in question.

“Bounce” gave way to hip-hop style dancing as women dominated the space and their movements matched the bass drops and beats throughout the performance.

After a brief intermission, “Postmodern Dance Suite” went through three individual acts.

The first act began with a red curtain overtaking the stage with each of the women wearing all white outfits.

The second act was set to tribal music where the group made their spaces by large sweeping limb movements and hypnotic gyration.

The third act had dancers moving on and off the stage with red towels.

“Deus Ex Machina” had no musical accompaniment outside of a metronome to keep time.

Each woman wrote her own speaking part to add to the whole of the piece.

“The Places I’ve Gone” was the night’s unique solo performance, choreographed and performed by Pamela Saenz.

Her ability to spin at length across the space of the stage was made great by her simple yet emotional movements.

The final performance of the night, “In a Flash” made for a dynamic closing to the night.

The theater remained almost pitch black as each dancer used flashlights to create motion and a sort of visual beat to the music of the piece.

Unfortunately it was over almost as quickly as it began, but was a great way to compliment the abilities of each dancer, curbing their ego and personality.

Overall, it was a fantastic evening put together expertly by instructors and students alike.

The next performance by the Dance Collective will be “The Nutcracker” at Rose Hills on Dec. 21 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $5 in advance and children 5 and under admitted free.