‘Phanatics’ Showcases Best in Dance Department

Olga Ramaz

Students in the dance department took to the stage on Nov. 3 for “Phanatics,” a one-night only dance extravaganza, showcasing some of the best student choreographed routines.

The 11 dance numbers covered a wide range of genres: from hip-hop to pop, to break dancing and belly dancing, all of the routines managed to sprinkle a dash of flavor, making the showcase tasteful and entertaining.

One of the evenings star performers was Nare Sahakyan, whose first performance, “Dedication to Someone Special,” set to Whitney Houston’s “Run to You,” flooded the dance floor with energy, in spite of the music’s tempo. Sahakyan returned to the dance floor, accompanied by Lily Sargsyan, for “The Comeback,” a routine set to Fiona Apple’s “Fast as You Can.”

Mario Mason, a familiar face in both the theater and dance departments, graced the floor on two separate occasions. Mason’s first performance included Selin Minassians, Esteban Martinez and Ani Ginosyan, in a number titled “The Laboratory,” which was set to “Wind it Up” by Gwen Stefani.

In “The Laboratory,” mad scientists played by Mason and Martinez, fall in love with their robots, played by Minassians and Ginosyan. Trouble ensues when the robots come to life, turning on their masters, while keeping in step with the beat.

A solo per-formance by Martinez in “Man Without a Suitcase” toned down the evening’s energy with a folk melody and Martinez’s theatrically graceful movements, reminiscent of a ballet.

A lesson in break dancing came courtesy of Eizel and Anthony Lingad, with their
number titled “Unrehearsed,” an improvised routine which incorporated some basic break dancing elements.

Defying gravity with an assortment of power moves, the Lingad duo generated cheers throughout the Sierra Nevada dance studio, proving that the street dance style made popular in the early ’70s by African American and Puerto Rican youth residing in the south Bronx in New York still stands as a popular and legitimate dance style.

Adding a dose of exotic dancing, Ruth Bliss took to the floor with a belly dancing routine titled “Bliss.” Bliss’ beautiful wardrobe, accentuated by the sound of finger cymbals, created a Middle Eastern ambiance, diversifying “Phanatics” and standing out among the other acts.

“Phanatics” was dedicated to the memory of Brittany Idom, a slain GCC cheerleader, victim of a drive-by shooting in July. Alexandra Blackbird, a hip-hop and salsa dance instructor, and Lynn McMurrey, chair of the dance department, allocated a few minutes prior to the performances to stress the senselessness of violence.

Blackbird also read excerpts from several essays, which addressed the issue of gang violence, crime and how people can do their part to alleviate these senseless crimes. The essays were written by a number of students in her hip-hop classes, a course which Idom was enrolled in last year.

Guests of “Phanatics” had the opportunity to donate money to Idom’s family, which would be used to create a campaign that would raise awareness and prevent violent crimes.

“Phanatics” is an outlet that the dance department provides its students in an effort to help them hone their skills. While these students may not yet be professionals, the dedication, effort and joy of dance transcended throughout their performances, making it clear that these students can, without a doubt, perform with the best of them on both an amateur and professional level.

For more information on the dance department and/or future performances, contact Lynn McMurrey at (818) 240-1000, ext. 5556 or visit www.glendale.edu/dance