This Friday, at the 25th annual Steinmetz Symposium, over 200 students will partake in dance performances, musicals, and art presentations. Among these is the 2015 Lothridge Festival of Dance. Sponsored by Miryam Moutillet, the presentation will feature twenty choreographed routines and a seemingly endless variety of techniques and musical genres. The variety here is difficult to embellish – over the course of a single hour, you will hear everything from A.R. Rahman to Lil’ Jon to Lorde.

The festival kicks off with a lively tribute to the Pink Panther, and we are treated to the immediate spectacle of David Thai prancing around with a magnifying glass large enough that it could be a murder weapon in itself. Props show up in the pieces from time to time and are used effectively. Look out for chairs, jump ropes, flowing pink ribbons, and in one performance, a harmonica.

The subsequent shift to the more serious Bahia Blanca may be a bit jarring, but internationally-taught Shannon Windle-Puente displays a relentless, razor-sharp technique that dissuades any initial whiplash.

Later on, we are treated to a number of interpretations of famous film soundtracks – Crouching Tiger being the second after the opener. Here the dancers kick off the shoes for a slower, deliberate showcase. Expect riveting flashbacks to Slumdog Millionaire, The Hunger Games, and Twilight during the evening.

Following Crouching Tiger was Union Dance Team’s Elle Eyre, which contests with Bhangra Union, Hip-Hop Club, and U-Break for largest ensemble performance. Even amid the chaos, keen-eyed viewers will spot many unique voices among these groups, particularly in the Hip-Hop Club/U-Break pop music medley.

If individual stunt work is what you’re looking for, Pas De Deux will fit the bill. Choreographed and performed by Giorgia Comeau with Jeremy Sagaille, the piece involves elaborate lifts, twists and spins like something out of Cirque du Soleil. Moutillet herself commented on the difficulty coordinating these dizzying feats.

Courtesy of Ryota Matsue
Courtesy of Ryota Matsue

Meanwhile, the Swing Kids put on their Sunday best in Ballroom, an Elvis Presley styling that harkens back to another era that sits somewhere between barbershop quartets and rock ‘n’ roll. A more risque depiction of earlier dance stylings will show up later in the evening in two crowd-pleasing and irresistible Burlesque numbers.

The Rhythmic Warriors switch it up a bit with a rumbling tap-dancing and head-bopping showcase. While it is always nice to have a musical accompaniment, a dancer can supply a perfectly something, perfectly catchy on their own. The Step Group drive this point home, circumventing the iTunes playlist altogether in favor of some thunderous step dancing. You can feel the stage quake under their syncopated stomps and knee slaps all the way from your seat.

One of the more impressive routines is choreographed and danced by Isabel Camacho and Nahian Jahangir featuring music by Childish Gambino and Sam Smith. The set boasts a crackling personality and playfulness that accentuates the strengths of its chosen tracks.

The variety of costume design and choreography alone makes a strong case for the Lothridge Festival. With the consolidated effort of its participants, the Lothridge Festival is a can’t-miss.


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