Halloween dance sensation thrills crowd
Odyssey Dance Theatre’s annual Halloween opus "Thriller" is a creative blend of tricks and treats, with a wide variety of horror-themed dance numbers appealing to the creepy and kooky, the mysterious and spooky. "I don’t think there’s a ton of Halloween things going on, so I think they really tapped the market just right," said Park City High School dance teacher Ciara Murano-Steele. "Halloween is such a fun holiday and there are so many possibilities with it." "Thriller" finished its run at the University of Utah’s Kingsbury Hall on Saturday to a virtually sold-out, enthusiastic crowd, many of whom came in their own costumes. The show started and ended with a zombie-laden cavalcade to the tune of Michael Jackson’s eponymous song. Twenty other dance numbers referenced a host of monsters, horror movies, and dance styles.
Dancers rise to the occasion with "Thriller," as they meet the challenge of performing gracefully while still resembling a desiccated corpse. "I always really like how they blend so many different styles and they always have a nice amount of comic relief," Murano-Steele said. Trained dancers can recognize the technical skills involved, but someone who knows nothing about dance can still appreciate the humor, she continued. "They do big enough things, but then they’re really silly," Murano-Steele said. The climactic "River of Blood Dance" was a tribute to Irish tap-sensation "Riverdance," with a sniper systematically blowing all the dancers away much to everyone’s delight. "2 Sides 2 Everything" was a somber, highly technical piece. Shannon Doerr danced alongside two pre-recorded projections of herself, one as a devil and one as an angel, in a stunning display of choreography and coordination. "Dem Bones" featured black-garbed dancers in glow-in-the-dark skeleton costumes. In "Children of the Corn," a group of teenagers perform a sance in a corn field. This brings the field’s scarecrows to life&and of course the evening ends poorly for the teenagers. Three dancers dressed as Jason from the "Friday the Thirteenth" series danced with a variety of deadly weapons in "Jason Jam," then pulled a woman out of the audience and pretended to eat her. In "Sugarplum’s Finale," Lisa Benson performed the first few dance steps of "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies" from "The Nutcracker." Then one of the Jasons came and shot her, which must be cathartic for dancers who perform "The Nutcracker" literally hundreds of times in their lives. "Just a Hunch" was a duet between a hunch-backed Quasimodo and a sexy gargoyle who comes to life. In "Salem’s Mass," three witches are hanged, then exact their revenge on the preacher who killed them combining dance and pyrotechnics to display their witchcraft. "I love the witches, I think the witches are always a really nice piece," Murano-Steele said. Really the only blas part of the evening was a piece called "Lorena Bobbit," a homage to the woman who castrated her husband, John Wayne Bobbit, in 1993. Playing Lorena, Mindy McDermott capably sang a variety of double entendre-loaded songs (such as "Great Balls of Fire" and "Cuts Like a Knife"), but the joke is 12 years old, and not terribly clever to begin with. Lorena, see if you can cut this bit from next year’s show. Two of Murano-Steele’s students were in "Thriller." Kaitlyn Schwalbe was in the "Lightning" number, where a hoard of dancers in red and white body suits recreates a lightning storm. Tiare Keeno played a tiny skeleton in "Dem Bones" and a Chucky doll in "Chucky-Rama."
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