Spring Dance Show Comes to Life

Nadav Soroker, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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“Life As We Know It” sprang to vibrant life on the Burbank stage for its limited run this weekend.

With 18 varied songs crossing almost as many genres and styles as numbers themselves, “Life As We Know It” has a little bit of everything, sometimes rolling them all into one number such as “La Vie Est Belle” choreographed by the show directors Susan Matthies and Lara Branan.

Opening with “Under the Thumb,” a student-choreographed piece that evoked feelings of the nine-to-five grind, the show progressed through pieces that varied from the dark “Twilight” and “To Breathe of Her” to brighter pieces like “Los Americanos Comedias,” based on the Three Stooges, and wackier pieces like “Wonderland” and “Society’s Clowns.”

All of the dancers were talented and the choreographers made excellent use of their abilities. Despite a few minor missteps and false starts, all of the pieces were very good, the dancers were graceful and smooth when they should be and sharp and precise when needed.

The show was occasionally difficult to follow, with many of its pieces being either overly obvious in what they represented or completely opaque in their meaning. Though in some cases this caused confusion, it frequently ceased to matter when the dancers got going, hypnotic as they were.

“Wonderland,” by guest choreographer and SRJC Alumni Raquel Medina, was an energetic and exciting piece based off the iconic “Alice in Wonderland.” Featuring a mix of songs, the sharp energetic piece brought a lot to the stage, with hard, intense lighting and great costumes that enhanced the edgy hip-hop dancing.

In contrast, “Unrequited” by Mariah McNaughton was an incredibly graceful and gorgeous solo set to music by Adele. The piece showcased McNaughton’s talent as both a choreographer and dancer, yet was largely unreadable in its intention.

The finale piece, “Society’s Outcasts” was a grand send off, with frantic music and a cast of misfits such as a tiger, a conductor, Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Suess and many more. It really capped the night on a high note and sent the crowd off bubbling with energy.

The hard work of the dancers was evident throughout the production and the modest set and lighting complemented each piece wonderfully. The technical crew worked smoothly, and all the support staff made sure that all that was left to be enjoyed was the dancing itself.

The only complaint to lodge would be against the fellow patrons scattered throughout the house who were rude enough to blunder past the cellphone rule to light up the dark with their urgent business. This was disturbing and showed a definite lack of respect to the talented performers who took the stage to entertain for the evening.

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