Diversity in motion

Zodiaque Dance Company performs at the Center for the Arts


For the 41st time, the Zodiaque Dance Company performed in the Center for the Arts, wowing many audience members with their zeal and candor.

From Wednesday through Sunday, the performers exemplified the group’s diversity with different dance styles and a variety of costumes.

Artistic director and choreographer Thomas Ralabate has his own philosophy when it comes to movement.

“Dance is a vehicle of expression which allows me to share and celebrate the human spirit,” Ralabate said. “It is a language without words that helps me connect to my identity and soul.”

The Zodiaque Dance Company captured Ralabate’s ideology in its two-hour performance.

The showcase opened with “Advocate,” a performance with four violinists and six dancers who partnered with one another. The pairs of dancers picked each other up and held each other tightly, forming a physical and metaphorical bond between the two.

Neither the violinists nor the dancers overpowered one another with their talents, but rather added a creative twist to the performance. The dancers’ movements were as illustrious and fluid as the violinists; they worked together in sync.

“Ring of Lament” began with a red light posed on a dancer’s face. The performers captured the “spirit of motion” by dancing or sliding on benches with rhythmic agility. With a sea-green backdrop to compliment the lighting, the dancers added visually appealing elements to their performance.

After a 10-minute intermission, another memorable performance began. In “slightly ASKEW,” stools were set on the stage as props instead of benches.

The dance was enhanced by the sound of panting on a track playing in the background. The fun nature of “slightly ASKEW,” gave the audience a glimpse into the dancers’ personalities. The dancers’ facial expressions and interactions with the stools and each other kept the audience enthralled and laughing.

Lesley Huang, a junior mechanical engineering major, was one of those spectators impressed with the entire show.

“I thought the usage of the stools as props were cool,” Huang said. “They really brought an x-factor to the performance.”

The ladies of the Zodiaque Dance Company shut down the night in a sultry number titled “Italiano.” The black backdrop and the dancers’ black leather and lace attire added a dark tone to the final moments of the evening.

The segment used two songs from the 2009 musical film Nine: “Be Italian” and “Cinema Italiano.”

The dancers moved smoothly to “Be Italian,” a slower, seductive song with Fergie on a background track. During the “Italiano” set, dancers were up close and personal at the tip of the stage, engaging with the audience.

“Cinema Italiano” was more of an upbeat song. The dancers kept their technique fresh yet sophisticated as they moved across the stage.

In the end, the entire Zodiaque Dance Company came out and performed a short piece titled “Z’BOWS” before bowing to cheers, whistles and applause from the audience.

Managing director and choreographer Tressa Gorman Crehan said the ensemble is focused on putting out the best work possible.

“Each company from year to year and concert to concert has a different persona,” Crehan said. “This company is delightfully gregarious and very diligent about their craft.”

The ecstatic response from the audience reflected the dancers’ performance. The high-energy collection of pieces displayed not only the physical abilities of the dancers in the company, but also their emotional range and ability to morph from one persona to the next.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com