Dance exemplifies many powerful meanings and emotions. It can be therapeutic, thought-provoking, and can even tell a story. On Nov. 5, Synapse Dance Theater illustrated life and its complexities with a contemporary dance ensemble presentation featuring an eclectic set of 12 dances ranging from hip-hop and jazz to modern and post-modern.

A hip-hop jazz fusion piece entitled “Work!” was performed to “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce, and was meant to represent women’s empowerment and self-worth. It captured the right look and feel, and was comparable to the music video, with the dancers sporting black leather outfits.

While the expected strength and sass were omnipresent, the dancers seemed to each add their own style to the choreography, rather than continuously dancing in unison.

Flashing stage lights, which erratically gleamed into the eyes of the audience, made it difficult to watch the routine for more than a few seconds at a time, and added to the sense of confusion.

Eerie and zombie-like, “Pahura,” a post-modern dance set to “Legions (War)” by Zoe Keating, featured dancers in white, flowing, ragged costumes, with eyes blindfolded by gauze-like fabric. They seemed to be lost, frequently running with no sense of direction while breathing loudly.

The number concluded with all dancers but one floundering on the floor helplessly while exhaling as if suffocating. As the standing dancer removed her blindfold and found her way, she finally broke away from the group, which portrayed the fear of the unknown.

The show ended with “Underground Essence,” a colorful throwback to the ‘90s, which featured vibrant costumes and high-energy performances to a mix of hip-hop songs by DJ Esco, The last number was the best overall of the night – an unpretentious dance routine that reflected the diverting dance parties of yesteryear.