The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Dance Company’s 20th annual showcase “burns up” McManus


This past weekend, the Loyola Dance Company shared with friends and family all the hard work they’d been putting in this semester. That work certainly paid off, as audiences were entertained by two hours jam-packed with dance of almost every kind and wonderful expressions of emotion, from big Broadway fun to reflective solos.

Ren Macalalag and Matt Dunbar kicked off the show, introducing the Dance Company and getting the (already quite rowdy) crowd pumped up and ready for the show. The dancing began soon thereafter, opening with a number choreographed by the Officers (Kate O’Brien, Aileen Pancoast, Symone Harris, Bri Milke, Julia Carey and Kelsey Davidson) to Moulin Rouge!’s “El Tango de Roxanne.” Thirty-two routines followed.

“Your Song” was a beautiful ballet routine, with many of the dancers dancing en pointe, a feat impressive to anyone, especially a non-dancer.

“Miss You” came immediately after and provided the first real comic relief of the night, as Jose Joachim Gonzalez literally swept his way onto the stage and a hip-hop dance battle with Jan Belaguas ensued. The guys stayed in character, lip-synching to the songs and, at one point, dancing to an amplified iPhone ringtone. This one was a crowd pleaser and showed off each dancer’s skill; Gonzalez in particular was memorable for his isolations.

“Toon Squad” was another audience pleaser, as the dancers tapped and passed a basketball in perfect rhythm and sync to the Space Jam classic.

The first solo of the show was Pancoast’s contemporary jazz routine to “I Put a Spell On You.” Her pirouettes were fantastic, and it didn’t hurt that her slouchy black shirt resembled, in part, witch’s attire. She did put a spell on the audience, but it was surely a good one.

Two solos followed shortly after, first Hailey Joseph’s sultry Banks’ “Waiting Game” and then MacKenzie Simm’s “Earned It” by The Weeknd. Both solos were sexy and sultry, but not overly so, and showed off Joseph’s great lines and Simms’ extensions.

The first act closed with a Britney Spears mash-up ensemble piece, including Spears classics like “Circus,” “Lucky” and “Toxic.” The costumes were an homage to Spears, with the girls in everything from ringleader-like gear to schoolgirl skirts and pigtails. It was the perfect send-off for the first act.

The second act began with the seniors’ dance, another ensemble mash-up, this one with a Disney theme. With costumes ranging from Monster’s Inc., to Snow White, to Aladdin, this “Princess Farewell” was a nostalgic goodbye for this year’s graduating dancers.

Another solo followed, this time a tap performance by Kelsey Reiff to Destiny Child’s “Survivor.” Although I sometimes find tap dancing less entertaining than other dance styles, Reiff changed my mind. Her skill is extraordinary, she kept in perfect tempo with the song, and it was some of the fastest tapping I’ve ever seen.

Milke and Harris followed with The Presets’ “Are You the One.” Harris is a joy to watch on stage (and in fact, shone in every routine she was in), and she worked well with Milke, who is graceful and lithe where Harris is strong and powerful. Neither dancer’s style is definitively better than the other, but rather wonderfully complimentary, and the duo’s talents were showed off well here.

The next duo dance featured Macalalag and Dunbar on the stage together again, this time to kill it in the night’s second hip-hop duel. Dunbar got down to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” before Macalalag took the spotlight. The boys passed the baton back and forth, MacAlalag soloing first to Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” with funny theatrics, and Dunbar following with a solo to Lorde’s “Tennis Court,” replete with some impressive roundhouse kicks. The boys joined together again, and played off one another well, especially when Macalalag handled Dunbar like a wind-up doll and then resurrected him from the floor in time with the music. This routine was fun and one of my favorites of the night.

Michaela Jones soon thereafter danced beautifully to M83’s “Outro,” rounding out a night of excellent solos.

Four senior girls took the stage next, in an emotion-filled dance to “Try” by Colbie Caillat. Maggie Mellott, Alex Desbiens, Katie Karwoski, and Jenna Socci exemplified grace; the trust falls in particular were a tender and beautiful moment of this choreography.

The show wrapped up with a few more routines and a big sendoff ensemble dance to the show’s namesake song, “Burnin’ Up.” In all, the 20th Annual Spring Showcase was a display of talent and dedication, and what it means to work as part of a team. Moreover, it was a reminder of the importance of the arts and what creativity can do for a community, providing an opportunity to bond together and push one’s limits, and of course, to entertain.


Image courtesy of: The Greyhound / Emily Shaw

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Greyhound Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Dance Company’s 20th annual showcase “burns up” McManus