The lights went down. The house went dark. The auditorium was silent. Suddenly, the music began. The curtain opened, revealing a screen with dancers behind it. The music was fast and heated. The dance was energetic and powerful. This was the opening number of Columbia High School's Special Dance Company's performance. It was titled "Phenomenon" and featured the entire Special Dance Company.
A collection of about 30 teens studying dance through history, improvisation, and choreography, the Special Dance Company is a place of thoroughbred talent. Taught by Kandice Point-Du-Jour, the students gave a spectacular performance, one that defines their love of dance. The group has performed at NJPAC, Rutgers, and Two Rivers Theater Company in Red Bank.
There were 18 widely varied dances performed on Friday and Saturday night. Some were soft and graceful, such as the number "Finding Beauty." Others reflected more of a hip-hop style, such as the number "Caution," which was performed and choreographed by the entire company. One touching number, titled "Juanita," had a slideshow of photos of Juanita Carter on the stage, as the dancers moved. This number was choreographed by Jasmine Carter.
Solo dances were beautifully performed by Andrea Thompson and Elaine Gutierrez. Every dance was original and intriguing. Among the highlights: "Matters of the Soul" made good use of lighting to cast shadows behind the dancers.
The performance was a group effort. The Special Dance Company thanks a long list of helpers, including many volunteers. This year's show used video for the first time thanks to Charlie Hooven.
If we were to imagine a worthwhile evening, we would imagine a dance performance complete with lighting, special effects and remarkable costumes. The Special Dance Company of Columbia High School gave their audience just that at its performance this weekend.