Category: clubs

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Photo Courtesy of CUBE

Step into another world and dive into wonderland with Columbia University Ballet Ensemble (CUBE)!

In this stressful time of the year, CUBE delivered a much-needed, light-hearted rendition of Alice In Wonderland, brightening up finals season. On December 8th and 9th, ballet dancers in CUBE took on the enchanting characters we all love, and turned them into delightful dancers. The performance featured a beautiful, expressive Alice, danced by Kasey Broekema, wandering her way through Wonderland, meeting characters such as the time-absorbed white rabbit, danced by Kyryk Pavlovsky, the mysterious Caterpillar, danced by Sophia Salingaros, the playful Mad Hatter, danced by Trevor Menders, and of course the feisty and elegant Queen of Hearts, danced by Anna McEvoy-Melo. The dancers playing lead roles were evidently accomplished and skilled as they pirouetted on pointe or leaped across the stage in their challenging choreography. Their acting and expression through their bodies brought the characters to life as well.

CUBE is lauded for their ability to integrate all levels of dancers while creating a cohesive piece. Alice in Wonderland was the  perfect example of how to do just that. With beautiful choreography for each dancer, CUBE highlighted everyone in all their dances, from Flamingos to Flowers to Cards.

Opening night was full of excitement and energy. The expressiveness of the dancers particularly stood out as they told the story of Alice falling through the rabbit hole to trying to save the Knave from the wrath of the queen. I only wish there were a larger audience to cheer on their work. CUBE’s Alice in Wonderland was a laudable and charming performance that left me wanting to follow the Alice down the rabbit hole to wonderland.

Haley So is a first year in SEAS who wishes she could dance and be as fierce as the Queen of Hearts.

 

Photo by Victoria Robson

As Columbia Ballet Collaborative’s performers extended their bodies in beautiful shapes at their 2016 Fall Performances, it’s easy to see the elegance, strength, and fluidity ballet dancers are known for.  While students of Columbia University and Barnard College comprise CBC, they proved that dedicating themselves to academia does not make them any less dancers. They commanded the stage at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center on November 18th and 19th with an air of professionalism. Yet they kept a youthful, fresh take on ballet, melding the traditional to modern with impeccable technique and a focus on the articulations in the music to produce more profound pieces. Their fall performances offered six pieces filled edgy and creative choreography.

The opening piece, “Symphony in G,” choreographed by Amy Hall Garner, showcased the lines of the dancers. Dressed in simple black and pancaked skin colored pointe shoes, the dancers played off the the trills and fermatas of Mozart’s music with quick footwork and moments of soaring through the air. Solos and pas de deuxs were precise and outlined each dancer. With Garner’s close attention to the nuances in the music, the piece was as if the music came to life, that the music was made for the dancers. This high energy choreography not only set the scene with beautiful technique, but also the avant garde direction for the rest of the show.

Add a little heavy metal and pure expression of the music and you’ll get “A Single Marble Block,” a fierce student-choreographed piece by Sadi Mosko CC’17 featuring movement in the dancers as well as across the stage. It began with the howling wind paired with shaking motions and isolations from the dancers. She played with the sound and bass of Pink Floyd’s “One of These Days” as well as light to create an intricate and eccentric piece. Between bursts of light, the dancers reacted to each other as they traveled from corner to corner as a unit, or perhaps as a ‘single block,’ breaking apart at times, offering deep contrast to the unity.

“No Mud No Lotus,” choreographed by Ursula Verduzco, was truly a stunning piece with a beautiful message. It began with a downpour of rain and crashing thunder where in the spotlight, individuals danced against the rain. The sense of conflict depicted from the expressive dancers and the sultry music and thunder fell away as the piece went on. It transitioned into a light and harmonious dance where the performers bourreed and pirouetted with the smooth picks of the guitar that mimicked the sound of rain. Their colorful costumes brought a swirl of hues in the enlivened dance. The piece ended in the same thunderstorm at the beginning, but with the dancer loving the rain this time. A little shift in perspective -no mud no lotus- is sometimes all you need.

Contrasting with the fluidity of the previous piece, Andrew Harper pushed the boundaries in his piece, “Lost in Space.” It was innovative and fun to say the least. Each dancer, dressed in everyday clothes, seemed to resemble us in life. Dancers were plugged into earphones where sometimes their music synced up and other times the individual voices sang out slightly different from the rest. The dancing was more freeform and expressive in individuality. The music, “American Pie,”  and moments of individual expression alludes to the uniqueness of members in a community. They follow their own beat. But, there are also moments where the voices come together to create a powerful unity between the dancers.

“Moonlight & Sonatas,” choreographed by Kevin Jenkins, featured two pairs in an elegant derivation of classical ballet. The dancers built contrast between sharpness during quick movements with smooth slows. With their impeccable technique and partnering, the dancers created an illusion of slipping out of control, only to join into flowing, free releases of tension. They created beautiful imagery and gave attention to even the slightest hand flicks, letting the movement reverberate through the body. In the intimate theater, the audience could hear the breaths of the dancers, confirming the difficulty that they make look easy.

The last piece ended the show with a display of intricate footwork and showed just how incredible the dancers in CBC are. “Us,” choreographed by Miro Magloire, took three of Bach’s preludes and fugues and showcased something different with each: gracefulness and repetition, unity and technique, and quick mirrorings with crisscrossing and weaving movements. They played on shapes, repetition, and footwork, creating a dynamic piece. It’s difficulty was evident yet the dancers were pleasant and never fatigued, always expressing themselvesto the fullest. It perfectly closed the show by leaving the audience wowed.

CBC’s fall performances were refreshing and impressive. Ballet dancers are incredible, and dancers in the Columbia Ballet Collaborative are no exception, as they showcased a new take on the traditional ballet in their stunning fall performances. Take innovative choreographers and strong, graceful dancers, and you’ll create beautiful art.

Haley So is a freshman in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Although a lover of science and math, she can’t live without a little art, ballet, or music.

Photo Courtesy of James Xue (SEAS ’17)

When I first arrived at Columbia, I felt lost in the sea of freshman. NSOP felt overwhelming and overbearing at times. Though it was created  to spur genuine interaction between fellow first-years, in my case it often just produced superficial introductions and goodbyes. Needless to say, I was a tad worried at the prospect of finding those “forever friends.” Perhaps this feeling was compounded by the fact that I live in Wallach, a dorm with first-years as well as upperclassmen, so the majority of my floor had still not yet moved in.

After all the upperclassmen move-in day, however, something changed. The lobby would constantly be filled with people, driven out of their rooms by the September heat and into the floor lounge for AC. Even after the heat subsided, the upperclassmen stayed and just talked about whatever came to mind. As I inserted myself into these conversations, I quickly found some of my first and closest friends at Columbia. There’s Will and Ashu, who are always in the lounge and ready at any given moment to order UberEats. There’s Cindy and Victoria, the reigning Queens of Wallach 4; there’s Ralph, the fixed guest-resident from Wallach 2. There’s Josh, whose ability to make me smile never fades, even after the most stressful days.

As I quickly learned, these people were always happy to lend a helping hand, and whether it was a difficult pset or an emotional breakdown didn’t matter. As juniors and sophomores, they were also able to provide insightful tips and tricks, ranging from warning me about John Jay’s meatless Mondays to telling me how to score some free gear at various events on campus. More than just resources, these people have shaped and defined my experience thus far. I’m only two months in and already eager for the rest of the next four years. My initial tensions and anxieties have all but subsidied; in Josh’s words, I know that “everything will be ooooo-kay.”

It is September 26. The aroma of glazed donuts lingers in the air as students scurry past the sundial, where a neatly clothed table with donuts is set up. Sure, that’s enough to lure Homer (not the philosopher!), but it’s reverberations of ‘it’s for a good cause’ that capture the attention of others. While many decide to flock to the table, enticed by the Krispy Kreme donuts–which are but a delicacy within the Columbia bubble–others are keen to learn how GlobeMed’s mission.

Standing behind the table, I assume the role of a de facto GlobeMed representative, engaging with customers about the modus operandi of the global health organization. The standard interaction lends itself to a description of GlobeMed’s partnership with a grassroots organization in Uganda, vis-à-vis monetary assistance made possible by a host of fundraisers, and hands-on work in the summer. However, it is in conversation with a law professor, and a visiting high-school student that my attention is drawn to the necessity of a paradigm shift from an organization that merely distributes resources to one that actively campaigns for global health advocacy.

This is an important distinction to be made, especially within a capitalist society that prioritizes top-down charitable practices that often do more harm than good by way of paternalism and a lack of nuance—with reference to cultural consciousness– in their implementation. This is where GlobeMed steps in their mission for global inequity. Instead of merely providing monetary assistance to GWED-G, their partner organization in Uganda, it actively listens to the concerns of leaders in the community to empower them to become agents of change. This ensures a healthy power dynamic in which GlobeMed responds to the needs of the community, and models its mission accordingly, rather than setting up a power dynamic where local leaders acquiesce to its set of demands.
The next time you smell donuts near the sundial, make sure you stop by and engage with the people behind the table. You’re sure to learn something new; if not, you can savor a glazed donut ‘for one dollar’!

To submit a piece for publishing on The Lion, email submissions@columbialion.com