Dance interprets and incites emotions, often in a way that leaves audiences speechless and spellbound. It’s just one way a small group of people can elicit a powerful response to thought-provoking ideas or concepts.
Mission Dance Company aims to creatively interpret subjects that are enjoyable as well as issues that may be uncomfortable, and in a masterful display of expressive music and choreography, the Mission Dance Company performed “Believe!” at the West Valley College Theater on March 15.
Even though the performers only had three short months to prepare, “Believe!,” titled from the Act 1 finale, “Exodus'” music, beautifully showcased 25 Mission College dancers who performed 12 original pieces, including some that touched on controversial topics.
One particularly moving dance, “Misery Loves Company,” explored suicide. “Reina [Gabat] choreographed the suicide piece,” said MCD president Selina Chih. “She told me the story about a friend [who] used to be around, then gradually drifted away and they heard she committed suicide. That’s how she had the idea to choreograph [it].”
Even though the performance was filled with some deep themes, not every dance dealt with such serious subject matter.
“Family Business,” choreographed by Chih and performed by Chih and MCD treasurer Marlon Chen, used the song, “Les Poissons” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The pair performed a whimsical routine in which they playfully recounted the film’s exchange between Sebastian and Prince Eric’s chef.
Additionally, the epic “Exodus,” was inspired by Chih’s recent trip to New Zealand. “I was so thrilled and greatly inspired [after the trip],” said Chih. “I came back and decided I have to choreograph ‘Lord of the Rings.’ I enjoy bringing my inspiration to my dance.”
Another number choreographed by Chih was her pointe-shoed solo, “Batteries Not Included,” a short, mechanical doll piece using music from the Coraline soundtrack.
MDC turned up the heat with advisor Brenna Wundram’s “Caliente,” a Spanish-inspired dance featuring 14 dancers that will be performed at Santana Row’s Dancin’ Downtown on April 27.
Although each of the show’s dancers is a student at Mission College, members of MCD create their own choreography and have to audition to be part of the group. However, the two Cheech Hsu choreographed numbers, the crowd-pleasing “Let’s Get Down” and show-stopping finale “Take Back the Night” were performed by members of the Mission College intermediate hip hop class.
Mission Dance Company is a student-run non-profit organization that provides “a venue for students to choreography and perform original works of art and share them with the broader community.” The company will host an Argentine Tango “master class” on April 12. Additional shows, including information on the annual “Dance with Us!” event will soon be announced on the company’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/missiondancecompany.