‘SJ Grooves’ shows off MSJC dance moves

Photo by Elyse Askari/The Valley Chronicle
Stirring choreography by Kirsten Johansen captivated the crowd on Saturday night at the “SJ Grooves” concert. (From left to right: Ricki Perry, Patti Ellis, Noel Sundholm, Lilith Jeglin, Patti Hewitt, Samantha Heape)
Photo by Elyse Askari/The Valley Chronicle
Nine dancers get the crowd involved as they sing along and spread the hype from Lindsay Rappaport’s stirring and modern choreography. (From left to right: Jasmine Ornellas, Alexis Gonzales, Moo Lapham, Tah’Jai Shannon, Camri Williams, Bridgette Orozco, Noel Sundholm, Norine Myers, Cheyenne Coorough)
Photo by Elyse Askari/The Valley Chronicle
MSJC Dancers took an international turn and showed diversity in their choreography with music from French singer Yves.

■ By Elyse Askari / Reporter

MSJC’s Dance Department definitely put on a show to remember this spring, and it was anything but boring. “SJ Grooves,” its spring performance, featured MSJC students and professors who showed off their skills and diverse capabilities with an array of music and choreography styles.
French, modern, expressive, and elements of ballet are just a few of the techniques exhibited in the concert’s 13 unique pieces, and the various teachers and staff who put the show together aren’t the only ones to applaud for their original works.
This year, seven students featured original choreography alongside their professors. Each piece was lively and spirited, and each dancer expressed themselves in a different way. Each piece exhibited a different story, a different message, and the dancers’ expressionism aided the music in setting the theme each time the lights came on.
“It was very stimulating,” said Kevin Speir, a first-time viewer who was brought to the show by a friend. “Every piece was thought-stimulating and important.”
His explanation was very accurate as the dancers performed on a few different pieces that took on a more expressive tone, including a very moving piece justly named “Body Stories.” Choreographed by Katie Nicole Stahl-Kovell, this number included not music, but voices that the dancers moved in time with, each individual telling her story both through her words and her body.
Another moving and demonstrative piece was accompanied by songs “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie, and “I’m Afraid of Americans,” by David Bowie, and the segment bespoke various issues facing the nation today, reaching all in the audience in a very creative way. “It was fantastic,” said Maria Siqueiros, mother of Norien Myers, who choreographed two pieces in the performance, including a moving solo called “Andre in Paradise.” “I loved it;” said Siqueiros, “it was very moving.”
The large, colorfully-lit stage captivated the audience as well with variant hues and shapes throughout the production, and each time a performance ended the lights went off and the music echoed into silence, adding to the dramatic feel of the evening.

Photo by Elyse Askari/The Valley Chronicle
Monessa Schertzer revels in the music as the spotlight finds her in this dramatic moment, choreographed by Crystal Sepulveda.

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