7 deadly sins, 1 incredible show

A blend of dance styles puts greed, gluttony, lust, wrath, sloth, pride and envy on stage

At one point or another, we have all experienced a deadly sin, from lust to sloth (Night Owl, anyone?). Binghamton University’s 2014 dance show “7 Deadly Sins” was a success because it not only showcased the beauty of the human form, but it did so with a theme that’s relatable to everyone.

Slide Show
Provided by Jonathan Cohen

Returning choreographer JoEllen Kuhlman brought a world full of greed, gluttony, lust, wrath, sloth, pride and envy to stage with the aid of talented student dancers. You might remember Kuhlman from her dance show last year, “Cosmogony,” which explored earth, air, fire and water through dance. While this year’s show is only around 45 minutes long, about half the run time of “Cosmogony,” Kuhlman walked, or rather danced, the audience through each of the seven deadly sins for 10 unique numbers.

According to Kuhlman, auditions for the show took place early last fall, followed by a committed six weeks of rehearsal for the seven female dancers and three male dancers chosen.

The performance featured a combination of unique dance styles, including modern, lyrical and hip-hop.

“It’s very intense, and there are a lot of things that go into it,” Kuhlman said. “Blending different dance styles of students from different backgrounds, there’s a bunch of layers to it.”

Kuhlman came up with the show’s choreography when she was listening to the song “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey. “Ooh, that’s pride,” Kuhlman recounted saying to herself. From there, she picked other songs to correlate with the outer sins. Aside from “Young and Beautiful,” the show included songs by Florence and the Machine and The xx. For Kuhlman, it’s always music first. She picks songs for a show, and then choreographs accordingly.

Lighting and smoke effects were also a key feature in the performance. The lights, along with the music, set the mood while smoke effects extended the illusion of depth in the performance, giving a more illusory touch to some of the numbers.

Running for a total of three shows in Chamber Hall this past weekend, “7 Deadly Sins” was not a show to miss. Featuring songs from popular artists and dance styles that are contemporary and refreshing, it was an enjoyable show that showcased the beauty of the human form while exploring the most deadly traits in us all.