Just Dance: A Look at Dancefest 2009

The Chapel will no doubt be filled to absolute (and then some) capacity on the night of Friday, April 24, as Dancefest makes its spring return. The bi-annual show is a Colgate favorite, a dazzling display of the endless dancing talents of both Colgate dance groups and individuals, all for the viewing pleasure of the student body. This year promises to be just as extraordinary as every previous show.

Involving such Colgate dance groups as Groove, Kuumba, Shock, the Ballet Club, the Belly Dancing Club and the Colgate Ballroom Dancers, among others, Dancefest is an a culmination of the astounding dancers that are a part of the Colgate community. A mix of music, nationalities, dance forms and fun, Dancefest has something for everyone.

Senior Stephanie McClellan, a dancer and choreographer in both Kuumba and Groove, as well as a mastermind behind the running of this semester’s show, had some things to say about Friday night’s show.

“I don’t want to give away any details, but it should be a good show,” McClellan said. “It’s a longer show than the fall because a lot of the seniors are going to be doing individual pieces. It’s their last show, so it’s important.”

The sort of time commitment and dedication that goes into a show like Dancefest is substantial. Even learning and preparing one piece for the show could take weeks to perfect, but all the dancers are enthusiastic and devoted to making the show the best it can be. For a dancer like McClellan, who is in several dances as well as stage-managing the show, the effort and commitment is completely consuming.

“It depends on how involved you are, but everyone works really hard,” she said. “Groove meets pretty much every day for several hours. There are late nights and early mornings. I’m in seven dances, but I’m also behind-the-scenes. It can get crazy.”

There is a unique aspect to this year’s show that has never been done before, and that’s the selling of tickets. Though the idea had been brought up last semester, it only became a reality for Spring’s Dancefest. In the two weeks before the show, 800 tickets were planned on being sold in the O’Connor Campus Center (Coop). The $2 ticket fee is going towards scholarships at Joy’s Dance Studio, a dance studio right in Hamilton that often helps many of Colgate’s dance groups out when they’re in need of practice space.

“It’s great to give back, to do something for the community,” McClellan said of the scholarship. “Some of the dancers here actually teach at Joy’s Studio, so they work with the kids and know what this scholarship can go to. It’s good to see where the good’s going.”

So what can be expected at Friday night’s festivities? McClellan didn’t want to reveal too much, but she had nothing but praise for the groups performing.

“[The class of] ’09 came in really strong,” she said. “A lot of seniors are the ones who started some of these dance groups. It’s really important to them to make this last show great.”

With the promise of some surprises and endless amount of talent, it’s little wonder why Dancefest is one of the week’s most anticipated events. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and seating can be little better than a free-for-all, so be sure to get there early. There is little doubt that Dancefest and every dancer and group involved will not fail to impress.