Synapse dance theater presents an array of performances

This past weekend, the annual Synapse dance theater, presented by the Santa Monica College dance department, gave its audience a night filled with artistic expression, fresh choreography and visual stimulation.

Parents, fellow students, relatives, and dance enthusiasts filled up the Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center on both Friday and Saturday nights. The dancers performed for a sold-out arena and the energy was high throughout the performance.

Artistic director and faculty member Linda Gold opened up the show by explaining the importance of the SMC dance department. Performers then entered the stage to show off their dancing skills.

Some pieces had been put together and choreographed by faculty members, while others came to life through the imagination and creativity of practicing dance students.

A high-paced jazz number kicked off the show. Girls were dressed in high heels, colorful 50's cocktail dresses and hats, while the men wore slacks and suspenders.

Aside from skillful dancing, the show also offered an innovative wardrobe for its dancers. Dresses made with soft, floating fabric enhanced the movements of performers. Torn jeans, high top sneakers and baggy hoodies added flavor to the performances of others.

The audience started getting worked up when "Carry Out" by Timbaland (ft. Justin Timberlake) streamed out of the speakers. In "Making the Move," a hip-hop piece choreographed by students Sashoy Blake and Aubree Fullwood, a diner scene quickly turned into a dance number that made the audience cheer.

While many seemed to enjoy the contemporary hip-hop pieces for their confident and poised delivery, others settled for deeply artistic pieces. Winnie Dean, who traveled from Ventura County to see her niece perform in the Synapse show, liked "The Space In-Between," a piece choreographed by SMC student Jennifer Stacy Campos. Dancers were dressed in black donned Mardi Gras masks.

At one point in the performance, a female dancer was trying to escape the clutches of her male counterpart while suspenseful music from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" soundtrack was playing. Dean liked the contrast of light in the piece, along with the shape of the dance and the shadows it created. "It was just amazing," she said.

Many other spectators were impressed by the diversity of dance offered by the show. SMC student Elsa Dahan came to watch her friend dance in the show. "It had all aspects of dance," Dahan said.

Many different performances were shown, some more complex than others. "If you're ready to open your mind [you should see the show,] but it's not for everyone," Dahan said. The second hip-hop performance of the night especially caught Dahan's attention. "It was very dynamic and cool, with energizing music," she said. "It was very creative and technical."

Many audience members came to show their support for the dancers. John Alvarado was there to see his daughter dance. Alvarado has been going to different dance events over the past 17 years, after his daughter started dancing at the age of three.

"I came here with low expectations," he said, but was pleased to see how well the show was put together. "The lighting was done well, the music was done well," he said. "It was a great show."