On May 3, the Black Dance Repertoire (BDR) hosted its 27th annual Exposé to a packed house in the American Legion Post No. 80, in the Downtown Binghamton area.
Created in 1985, BDR is a performance group that showcases six forms of dance in the genres of hip-hop, modern, African, jazz, Latin and reggae. The group can be seen providing entertainment at various events over the span of a whole school year, but its fall show and annual Exposé is an opportunity for the collective to demonstrate the versatility in talent held by the organization.
Practicing since February, BDR worked every night before the event up until the days leading up to the Exposé. Ahjah Renee Adams, president of BDR and a junior majoring in comparative literature, said she sees practicing as a way to make everything performance-ready.
“We practice every day, even on the weekends, Sunday through Friday,” Adams said. “Usually, Exposé practice will end a little past 3 [a.m.].”
Seen as the time to work on any movements that need refining, practicing for the performance group is taken very seriously.
“Everything has to be sharp and perfect since there is just a few of us on stage,” Adams said. “It’s best to show the cleanest — we want everyone to look their best.”
This year’s Exposé was titled Outbreak and it followed a group of dance teams that lost practice spaces at their school to dance in due to an outbreak of asbestos. In an attempt to solve their issue of a lack of space, the dance teams submit their choreographies to a competition with a chance to win a new dance studio.
Each dance team in the show represented one of the six genres BDR performs. The show culminated in each of the six genre-themed dance teams working together to do a final dance that would help them win the competition and obtain the space they all need.
Each performance during the Exposé encompassed diverse movements varying from sharp to elegant. Dance styles such as Afrobeat and reggae had very precise and even acrobatic movements, whereas styles like Latin and modern were very fluid and free.
In addition to the contrasting movements within each dance set, the formations during every performance creatively led into grandiose transitions. The high energy demonstrated in even the smallest details of the showcase by the dancers transferred to the crowd, which progressively became more lively with the end of every dance.
Nana Appiah, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, was a fan of the effort by the performers and the various styles of dancing.
“They’re really enthusiastic — you can tell by the looks on their faces that they’re excited to go out there,” Appiah said. “They’re out here showing me all types of dances. I might try to take some of these new moves and try it out for myself because they’re showing me some cool stuff.”
Serving captivating dance moves is not the only thing BDR provides to the Binghamton University community. The organization also functions as a family for anyone who is a lover or performer of dance, and not just the six genres usually focused on by the organization.
“We love dancing — you don’t have to be the best dancer, you just have to be comfortable in your body to move,” Adams said. “BDR is like a second family, we’re all different majors and we’re all different years and we come together every day, Monday through Friday, to practice, and we share one passion together.”