Stanford Dance Brings Style

May 7, 2010, 12:14 a.m.

With the multitude of dance groups on Stanford campus, it can be hard to keep them all straight. Especially for us non-dancers, many groups seem to blur the line between traditional forms and a fusion of contemporary and classical training. This past Sunday, one particular group starred in and hosted a collaborative event, and the lucky audience got to be amazed not only by the talent of Urban Styles, Stanford’s student-run contemporary jazz and lyrical group, but also guest performances from other artists around campus. “Elements” was a production of ambitious proportions and consistently impressed everybody in Dinkelspiel auditorium with the amount of talent found in the student body.

Opening with a high-energy number set to “Mercy,” by Duffy, Urban Styles came on stage drawing a wild reaction from the crowd. With many of the audience being family and friends of the dancers, this was not your typical dance show experience. Instead of staying hushed, with the space so silent that you can hear a pin drop, the audience was loud and raucous, yelling dancers’ names and cheering consistently. This was no exception for “Detention,” performed by TapTh@t, Stanford’s advanced tap group. With four women sitting in desks, dressed in school uniforms, the number opened with a “STOMP”-esque rhythm, then building into a foot-flying frenzy that had the audience gasping and clapping. With no extra soundtrack, this was dancing down to its bare bones, and it was very evident that the dancers had a great time with it.

The first act was filled with performances from Urban Styles, and an appearance from Talisman, one of Stanford’s many a cappella groups, was one of the only moments where the audience sat in silence, made rapt by the spirituality of the two numbers the group performed. The standout dance of the first act, though, was set to “Ali in the Jungle,” by the Hours. Choreographed by Annemarie Estess ’09, a smaller portion of Urban Styles hit the stage with edgy costumes and fierce dance moves.

Stanford Dance Brings StyleAfter intermission, we were treated with a performance from Bent Spoon, Stanford’s only modern dance group. It was a quiet number, set to “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” by Stars, and was a nice break in the action before the most crowd-pleasing number. Set to “Bulletproof,” by La Roux, the Urban Styles senior piece was over too quickly for most. Dressed in colorful outfits, the six incredibly talented senior dancers were all smiles as they put their heart and soul into the piece collaboratively choreographed by each of them. However excited they were to be on stage, it was nothing compared to the pride of their friends and family watching them, and one could hardly hear the music over the non-stop cheering.

With a performance from Swingtime, Stanford’s swing dancing group, the show was given a welcome change of pace, and the audience enjoyed a toe-tapping and jazzy break from the other kinds of dance thus far. Everybody in the large group looked to have a great time, and the audience was wowed with flips and lifts. After Swingtime, Alliance, one of Stanford’s multiple hip-hop groups, took the stage with a number set to multiple top-40 hits. Adding a touch of “America’s Best Dance Crew” to the show, Alliance was exciting to watch, and a lot of the audience was sad to see them exit the stage.

Concluding with a sensuous and eye-catching piece performed to “Stillness Is The Move” by Dirty Projectors, Urban Styles Presents: Elements was a fast-paced and high energy dance production featuring not only the talented jazz group, but bringing in many other artists from all over campus, as well. Look forward to Urban Styles’ next showcase–it is dancing that you won’t want to miss.

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