“Whole lot of everything”

SALEM, Mass., Oct. 9, 2016–Scores of students turned out to Salem State University’s Twohig Gym on September 29 to watch the contemporary dance company, Chicago Dance Crash (CDC). Lead by artistic director Jessica Deahr, the CDC transported the audience to multiple excerpts of conceptual shows, filled with fluid movements, graceful leaps, and entertaining breakdancing.

“What is considered art, versus what is considered entertainment,” said Deahr, about their pieces, before the performance began.

The CDC performs a number as a company in the Twohig Gym in O’Keefe Center at SSU on September 29, 2016. The performers were interactive with the audience during the pieces. Photo by Meg Kazan

The CDC, approaching its 15th season, constantly experiments with new dance techniques, show concepts, and inspirations in order to maintain their creative output and flow.

The gymnasium stands were filled with an array of students, faculty, and neighbors, who wandered in looking to see what the commotion was all about. The Twohig Gym as a venue was lackluster, the lights were harsh, with a smell similar to chlorine, and the dry air created a need for water; but the conditions, not optimal, didn’t affect the CDC and its performance.

The audience was captivated as each piece was performed without flaw. Even without any previous knowledge or background, any viewer would know that multiple dance styles and forms were in each piece. Jazz, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, and breakdancing were enjoyed by both the dancers and audience.

Kyla Campbell, a junior Early Childhood Education and Dance double-major at Salem State University, attended the performance as a class requirement.

“I already knew about them [the CDC] because of my professor, Jim Morrow. He taught some of the dance numbers to them; he even taught one of the pieces from today to us, but we definitely weren’t as good as them!” said Campbell.

Campbell thoroughly enjoyed watching the CDC, he said, noting: “It’s different because it’s contemporary. It’s not like the ballet where that’s all you’ll see. [It’s a] whole lot of everything.”

“[In] conceptual shows everything is tied together to take you on a journey,” said Deahr about the new method behind the CDC’s performances. Each piece is tied to one another, leaving the audience wanting more.

David Ingram, a dancer who’s been with CDC for eight years, said he originally auditioned on a whim, loving that the company was open to new things and always changing.

“I couldn’t dance as a kid, I’m self taught. I have a background in martial arts, but I attended my first dance class at 21,” he said.

The captivating pieces performed by the dancers and the talent of the company make the company unforgettable. Ingram is just one of the talented dancers–dancer being perhaps too modest a word for the artists–that bring the CDC to a new level of performance, a level that conceptually seems to have something for everyone, or as Campbell said: a “whole lot of everything”.

Two dancers from CDC perform in the Twohig Gym in the O’Keefe Center on September 29, 2016. The audience was silent in awe as the dancers bodies moved as one. Photo taken by Meg Kazan.
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