Review: Progressions 2018

Rachel Lee, Staff Writer

A red-lit backdrop and a cluster of black silhouettes begin the performance. Still dancers quickly come to life, throwing their arms in all different directions to the first sharp beats of the music. Hands quickly retracting back inward, the group moves together, functioning like one single body as they twist to the side, turning their synchronized heads back toward the audience in jagged, angular motions.

As the name suggests, the annual Progressions dance show works to highlight the growth in student dancers after a full year of practice. The show includes students from the three dance levels taught at the high school by dance teachers S. Christien Polos and Mayra Hernandez, and includes student choreographed pieces. This year, the show took place on May 3, 4 and 5. Cantico opened with a performance and was followed by a number of other dance performances, ranging from contemporary-styled group pieces to a solo popping dance.

One self-choreographed performance that really stood out was “Heart of Stone” performed by junior Ling Ling Johnson Garland and senior Alec Shiman. With a soft blue background and the steadily climatic music of piano and vocals, the duo worked to evoke the emotions of despair and dependency that are often felt in any sort of relationship. The two demonstrated strong teamwork skills as they executed collaborative lifts and synchronized movements, often mirroring each others’ exact motions.

Senior Anthony Vieti performed a crowd-favorite popping piece, to the song “What Happened?” by Les Twins and Travis Scott. Starting off sitting on a single chair, a reflective mannequin stood propped to one side, creating an unusual yet intriguing picture right from the beginning. He continued throughout the performance showcasing a wide variety of different movements, incorporating popular mainstream dance moves and abrupt popping in all parts of his body, from his shoulders to his knees, matching the pulse of the music. Vieti also continued to motion to the mannequin at certain moments throughout his dancing, interacting with his prop on stage.

The performance closed with the large group number “Good Vibes Only,” choreographed by Hernandez, which combined several Advanced Dance classes. The performance was an upbeat dance for which students were adorned in bright red outfits, matching the title of simply having an enjoyable, entertaining time. Small groups of dancers would come and go on the stage, each displaying a new sequence of lively steps and jumps. The piece finished off with all the senior dancers staying on stage to dance together one last time. At the end, all the dancers ran into the audience rows to complete the show.

This 2018 Progressions performance successfully captured the many aspects of dance: both the slow, more somber pieces and the fast-paced, exciting frenzy of lighthearted movements. Similarly, there was a greater variety in the amount of people in each dance, compared to last year when all the performances were group pieces. This time, there was both a solo and a duet incorporated into the program. The show was hugely captivating right from the beginning, and the start of each dance had the audience waiting in anticipation until the very end.