Lauren Hansen is a junior journalism-news major and writes "Lauren's Lookback" for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Lauren at email@example.com.
The Department of Theatre and Dance’s
production of “Swing!” started off with a breathtaking dance number and it just
kept delivering until the finale. Directed and choreographed by Michael Worcel
and Christie Zimmerman, with musical direction by Jodi Cotton, “Swing!” takes
us back into a cultural movement that took place during a significant time in
“Swing!” takes place in the 1930s and '40s, when the swing
dance movement swept the nation — specifically at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, where many swing dance moves were created.
But a rose such as swing dance had to bloom out of a few
thorns. Swing dance came alongside the Great Depression and Civil Rights
movement, the economic and social wake-up calls in our country. The clubs where
dancers escaped to swing the night away were some of the only places where
people could escape being called rich or poor, black or white and just dance.
The musical is filled to the brim with talent from the
musicians, to the dancers, to the vocalists, all of whom led us by the hand
onto the dance floor of the Savoy. Some songs you will recognize and get this
nostalgic feeling that washes over you, even though most of us weren’t even a
thought in someone’s mind back then. Other songs you won’t recognize, but the
musical performance reels you in so fast, it makes you want to dance as though
you swing every Friday night with these people.
University Theatre feels as though it is reconstructed to be
the Savoy Ballroom, complete with a smoky atmosphere and dramatic lighting to
match the dramatic spirit of the musical numbers. The set is energetic, decadent
and ready for a dancing good time.
The set’s rich scene has the band on stage so they are
a part of the performance themselves, as many of the vocalists and dancers use
the band members in their performances. This decision adds so much feeling into
the music as you see the musicians and dancers alike having a great time doing
what they love.
This production had the audience laughing one minute and
ready to get up and dance the next, but overall it left us in awe of the talent
that Ball State has to offer.
With all the negativity going on in the world around us,
whether that be the violence or the politics, it has everyone up in arms ready
to fight to the death to defend what they think is right. “Swing!” reminds us
to stop, put down our weapons and look at the big picture: everyone is equal
and important. Let’s stop hating and start dancing!
You can catch “Swing!” in University Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 through
Nov. 12 or at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 13. Tickets are available through the
University Box Office (765-285-8749) or online at bsu.tix.com. Tickets are $18
for the general public and $15 for BSU students and faculty.