Dancefest Fall 2017 Hits the Right Beat

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Colgate students bravely perform in front of their peers.

Andrew Kish, Class of 2021

On Saturday, December 3, students crowded in a line that stretched from the Colgate Memorial Chapel’s front doors to the back of Hascall Hall, filling the quad with a jittery anticipation only heightened by the chilled air. When the doors opened at 6 p.m., the mob swarmed inside the pews to secure the best seats to view this year’s Dancefest.

The biannual event showcased a multitude of talented dance groups around campus, who shared all the effort they’ve put into choreographing and practicing their art form this year with the student body. The show was organized by the co-leaders of Groove, seniors Lindsey Derbyshire and Marit Vangrow, and was hosted by leotard-clad seniors Mason Jones and Melanie Oliva. As each of the 18 groups performed before an enthusiastic audience, the Chapel was filled with heavy applause and awe from the crowd.

A standout of the show, Irish Dance brought an intense precision to its two performances, which represented both modern and traditional Irish dance. The group, whose membership has grown significantly since its inception last year, stood out for its members’ perfect stride as well as the rhythmic beat created by their stomping heels. 

“Their faces were dead serious and they barely moved their upper bodies, but their legs were moving so quickly, it almost didn’t look real,”  first-year Maddie Jenkins said.

DDT’s dance number, “Can You Hear Us Now?” brought a politically-charged atmosphere to the stage, featuring a sound clip recounting the glue gun incident of last semester where a black Colgate student faced racial discrimination and the National Guard was called to campus to respond to reports of an active shooter. The choreography invoked recent racial tension between people of color and police officers. Hands above their heads, the group brought a tactful and powerful message to the stage, all the while impressing the audience with their modern movements.

Even though Dancefest featured serious numbers such as this, the show managed to keep an engaged and light mood, featuring an ‘80s dance medley by the Shock Dance Group near the end of the show. And the entire audience was singing along to Colgate Tap Troupe’s upbeat rendition of High School Musical’s “I Don’t Dance.”

One of the most engaging performances came from WolfPack with its modern style of hip-hop dance, mixed with gymnastics and impressive body control. The group’s bass-heavy music had the Chapel floor shaking, leading the audience into a frenzy of cheers and and applause at every trick.

Whether it was classical ballroom, modern interpretive dance or belly-dancing, Dancefest surely impressed the Colgate community with a wide array of well-executed styles. It’s no wonder so many people turn out for this event every semester and are compelled to join the groups they see on stage. After the show had closed out with the long-awaited performance by MELANATED, the night remained full of chatter about the great show that Dancefest presented this year.

Contact Andrew Kish at [email protected]