‘Diverse, Exciting, and Innovative,’ Virtual Dance Open 2021 Emphasizes Optimism as a Principal Theme

The upbeat tune of “Another Day of Sun” from “La La Land” welcomed the Dance Open 2021’s first virtual performance, setting a cheerful tone for the rest of the show. Choreographed by Dori Rosenstrauch ’23, the performance depicted typical quarantine routines, such as sleeping, reading, and even walking around in circles. 

“Most of it is actually clips from people walking around the house or doing things in quarantine because I put the spin on it where it’s another day of quarantine instead of another day of sun… I started meeting with my dancers creating small pieces of choreography and teaching it to them,” said Rosenstrauch. 

To open the show, directors Lexi Tucci ’22 and Lesley Tan ’22, expressed gratitude for their cast and fellow choreographers. Tucci stressed her goal to convey a theme of optimism and joy throughout the various dances. 

“Having fun throughout the process is definitely something that we wanted to keep, because being virtual can be very isolating at times and we wanted to ensure that the Dance Open family did have this support system that they can depend on…We have so many high energy dances, and we have so many new creations of mixing of types of choreography and mixing of music, that I think that it’s going to keep everyone on their toes,” said Tucci. 

Dance Open featured a wide variety of dance groups, including SLAM, Fusion, JVNE, Blue Strut, Footnotes, Footsteps, and Hypnotiq, in addition to solo performances. Myranda Lu ’23, a member of Footsteps, Footnotes, Blue Strut, and Hypnotiq expressed excitement for the diverse dance styles. 

“It’s really amazing to see all the different styles especially because where I grew up… it was mainly just like normal jazz, tap, contemporary, and stuff like that. [Seeing] everyone doing different dances like [Chinese, Indian, or Korean dances is] fun to see, because I did one of the Indian dances, [which] I’ve never done before, and, honestly, it was a lot of fun to do,” said Lu. 

In addition to online editing and choreographing, some dancers focused on matching their music to their specific dance style, allowing for more creative storytelling and general performance. For example, Max Guan ’22, a performer this past weekend, enjoys freestyling as opposed to pre-choreographed dance movements. 

Guan said, “As the music eventually reaches its so-called climax or peak, it’s a bit more of me dancing in the snow for a while, and then also doing a bit more of locking … [which is] another dance style where you fling your arms around a bit more. So, there’s a bit more movement to try to create a parallel energy level to the music itself.”

Throughout Dance Open, audience members, including fellow dancers, used the chat function to support the soloists and group performers. Some dancers, including Nnenna Okorie ’22, found encouragement from these comments and appreciated the supportive environment.

“For every performance, I dropped a comment because all the dancers were so good. I was in awe… I think, for the people who I don’t know as well—who I don’t have personal connections with—I wasn’t expecting to see so much support in the chat, but I really appreciated it. [For] my friends, I just loved hyping them up, and we always do that,” said Okorie.