Artistry and variety at Orchesis dance show

Amanda Anderson, Staff Writer

Tights, flowing skirts and shorts paced and swirled backstage. The percussion of bare feet and dance shoes on the wooden floor filled the air as the crowd funneled into the Campus Rec Studio. Then the room went dark.

The silence was pierced by a chant, a chorus of voices, belonging to the 19 members of the Orchesis Dance Company. It was showtime.  

Students, parents and community members gathered to watch the Orchesis Fall Showcase at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 10.

Senior Avanna Menard is a dancer and choreographer in Orchesis. She has been a part of Orchesis for the past four years.

“It’s kind of like Christmas,” Menard said, after her final show of the evening. “Show days are always one of my favorite days of the semester. We spend a lot of time together.  

Orchesis embodies a wide variety of talent and personality, with members from different dance backgrounds and trainings.

This student-run company choreographs, organizes and executes the entire process of a professional performance at the end of each semester, according to the UVM club sports website.

Dance styles range every semester depending on what the students choreograph, according to the website.

The show consisted of two acts with 11 student-choreographed and performed dances.

There were also featured guest performances by Ballet Viridis, Celtic Cats and Jazbaa.

Ballet Viridis is UVM’s first SGA recognized ballet company, currently student-taught and organized, according to the UVM club sports website.

Celtic Cats is UVM’s Irish step dancing club, according to the UVM club sports website.

UVM Jazbaa is UVM’s first Bollywood club and their aim is to bring the culture and diversity of South Asia to the University, according to the UVM club sports website.

Senior Jillian Varin came to watch the matinee showing. Varin previously studied dance at Spotlight, a studio in South Burlington.

“I loved seeing all of the performers because their passion for what they were doing was contagious,” Varin said.

Orchesis prides themselves on hard work and self-sufficiency, she said.  

“They’re a lot of work and we set all the stuff up and take it down by ourselves,” Menard said of the sound, lighting and staging equipment.

Rounding out Act I, Menard’s choreography in the showcase was titled “Spirit Animals,” and set to “The Wolves” by Cyrus Reynolds. Including Menard herself, the piece was composed of 11 dancers.

“I wanted to do something that was powerful and looked intense,” Menard said. “Something where the people who came to watch think, ‘I can’t do that.’”

She wanted to showcase the Orchesis dancers’ outstanding athleticism.

The final showcase of the year will be held on April 13, 2019 in the Campus Rec Studio. There will be two showings.

Junior Clara Berhman, the vice president of the Orchesis Dance Company said she is already excited for the next showcase.