The University Dancers performed diverse and captivating pieces at their @30 spring show last weekend, named in honor of the dance group's 30th anniversary. 

The show, which was held in Alice Jepson Theater, opened with the piece “Union of the Senses,” choreographed by New York-based artist Norbert de la Cruz III. This piece focused on the meaning and importance of dance, making it the perfect introduction to the rest of the show.

The ensemble included pieces choreographed by faculty, students and guest artists. Each of the pieces had a distinct theme, ranging from female empowerment to the effect of caffeine.

One of the pieces, “Into the Dark,” which was choreographed by senior Nathan Watwood, included the appearance of URBee, the physics department’s drone. URBee was lit up with red and green lights as it floated over the dark stage. During this piece, four dancers dressed in white rags moved and danced around, sometimes interacting with the “mysterious object” that was flying about.

Senior Megan Rodriguez collaborated with Watwood and designed the lighting for “Into the Dark.” Rodriguez said Watwood had come up with the idea to incorporate the drone into his piece and then decided what type of environment he wanted for it.

Rodriguez said she worked with the lighting based on Watwood’s vision. “The drone had a lighting and personality of its own that added to the environment,” she said.

Most of the pieces in the ensemble resulted from the collaboration among choreographers, lighting designers, costume designers and musicians, said Anne Van Gelder, artistic director of the show. Van Gelder said students from different majors and minors had contributed to the production of the show, making it a multi-disciplinary cooperation.

Van Gelder’s new work “Andante,” which was performed in the show, included the live, on-stage performance of two student musicians from the UR Chamber Ensemble.

Carol Guzman, a junior student who attended the show, said one of her favorite pieces was HRH, choreographed by junior Kit Knapp. “I liked that it had current popular music,” Guzman said, “and the outfits were great.”

“I also liked the coffee one," Guzman said. "I thought it was so funny. It reminded me of how much our society gives importance to having energy and being fit.”

“Caffeinated” was the last dance of the show. It was a unique piece in which dancers energetically moved around the stage wearing workout clothes and holding coffee cups. According to Van Gelder, this iconic piece was choreographed by artist Larry Keigwin, founder of Keigwin + Company.

The University Dancers looked as if they had recently drank coffee themselves as they jumped around and performed fast-paced movements on the stage in that last piece. At one point, colorful glitter sprinkled out of their cups and covered the floor of the stage. The piece successfully ended the show on a high and energetic tone.

Contact reporter Maria Eugenia Fernandez at maria.eugeniafernandez@richmond.edu

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