Zodiaque stuns with consecutive shows at UB CFA
Annual performance by local dance company sells out CFA
This week UB’s performing company, Zodiaque, opened its 42nd season with a performance at the Center for the Arts (CFA).
Every year the company assembles a fall and spring show.
Showcasing varying abilities, styles and athleticism, the company never fails to captivate its audience. That it packed the CFA Mainstage Theatre on a Wednesday night speaks to the company’s popularity.
This year, the dance department choreographed a variety of pieces embracing the season theme of social justice.
With contributions from renowned choreographers like guest artist Hilary Easton, John Leher and seasoned faculty members like Kerry Ring and Michael Lambert, Zodiaque is successfully adapting its performances to current social issues through dance.
“Zodiaque is so large, yet everyone is so individual,” said Olivia Burgmann, a sophomore dance major. “Everyone brings in their own style and while still dancing as a whole.”
Choreographed by Shelley Hain, “Watch Her Disappear” opened the show.
Seven dancers emerged onto the stage, swaying gracefully against a raspy spoken word narrative that tells the story of a loss of innocence.
The dance continues to take the audience on a journey through the lives of sexually trafficked women. The piece paints a clear narrative through its transitions from light violins and ground movement, to fast tempos and intense choreography.
“Here in this Eden” by John Lehrer began with a peaceful island backdrop and lighting that enhanced the visual experience by creating an illusion of sand with a dim white light.
The duet was intimate and blissful, with both dancers illustrating the incredible athleticism Lehrer Dance is known for.
“La Danse” by Michael Lambert served as one the more light-hearted performances of the evening.
Beginning with a very seductive and provocative Spanish tango rhythm, the dance highlighted the issue of degradation of women by men. Eight dancers – seven women and one man – performed the piece.
Each of the women interacted with the sole male dancer throughout the dance, making its story line easy to follow. The EDM-like rhythm the dancers transitioned into, made it especially enjoyable for the audience (which consisted of primarily UB under grad students).
“This piece was my favorite to be apart of, it was so much fun,” said Madison Rutherford, a sophomore dance major and Zodiaque dancer.
After an intermission, “Just Us” by Kerry Ring began.
The 12 dancers worked in beautiful unison, flowing in and out of one another flawlessly, capturing the unity of women.
The symmetry of the choreography and positioning of each dancer was appealing visually. Paired with a focus on the use of the body as an instrument to create sounds, the performance was incredibly creative.
“The Playground” by Miranda Zimmerman was a crowd favorite.
Each dancer was spotlighted individually, taking on personal and playful roles, symbolic of the light and joy of being a child.
Many in the crowd were captivated by the dances, with numerous crowd members coming in from around the city to watch.
“The playground piece was my favorite, it was so much fun to watch,” said Laurie Latke, a 40-year-old Buffalo native and show attendee.
The piece left room for dancers to display their own personalities, enhancing the audience experience by becoming relatable.
The entire company came out and closed out the show with a piece entitled “Z’Bows,” which perfectly highlighted the talent Zodiaque possesses as a collective. The ensemble bowed to an ecstatic and pleased crowd.
With nightly performances through Sunday, Zodiaque’s fervor and talent is certain to captivate many more as it closes out its fall showcase.
Gabriela Ortiz is an arts staff writer. Arts desk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.