From Thursday, Nov. 17 to Saturday, Nov. 18, The Department of Theatre and Dance and Drew University Dramatic Society presented Choice, the Fall Dance Show. Performances happened in the Thomas H. Kean Black Box Theatre in the DOYO.
Choreographers were students from DANC 322: Choreography and Performance and held auditions for dancers to help produce a show that breaks the barrier between artist and audience interdimensionally. A myriad of dancers across graduation years and majors were selected to portray stories of choice that, while wholly separate from one another, find commonality in their excellent execution and passion. By the time all dancers came running back out to bow to the audience, dry eyes were difficult to find.
Dry eyes, too, were rare amongst the dancers themselves. With the proximity the theater grants, a dancer’s expression was constantly readable and often just as intriguing as the movements below the face. As dancers bent, twirled, grasped hands and flung themselves out into the audience (sometimes even hovering on the steps, as if contemplating grabbing a viewer and pulling them into the show itself) their faces were alight with multiple colors and heightened expressions. The emotions of each act, then, came from both the splendid movement and the contortions of their faces.
While each individual performance brings its own praiseworthy rendition of real-life events and emotions, the comradery between the dancers and choreographers might be one of the most notable aspects of Choice. All dancers were eager to elevate their acts’ choreographer, and in return the excellently scripted movement elevated the dancers themselves. Together these artists combined to bring the audience on a moving hour-and-a-half display of unbridled character; when words fail, actions succeed.
Another wonderful aspect of this show in particular is the audience participation. Two large walls take up the space in between the entrances to the theater: one displays excellent photo portraits of the choreographers, taken by “The Acorn’s” own Dee Cohen (‘26), and the other a peeling collection of nametags.
Upon buying a ticket, dramaturge Alexa Deronde (‘26) greeted guests with a blank name tag and a marker. The question to answer: What do you choose? It is certainly more difficult than a multiple choice test – answers were difficult to come up with. Some of the wall’s highlights include ‘I choose chaos’ (twice!), ‘I choose to stay alive’, and ‘I choose myself always’. With an audience so open to making choices themselves, it is no surprise the magnificent Choice dancers managed to strike nerves and connections night after night.
FEATURED IMAGE COURTESY OF MIKAYLA MAISONETT
Annabelle Smith is an undecided first-year student.