On Saturday, April 29, Colgate University students completely filled the Memorial Chapel to enjoy “Dancefest Forever Spring 2017” from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. At the end of every semester, Dancefest is a great chance to take a break from the stress of impending final exams and enjoy a variety of dance groups as they showcase their unique talents and skills.
This semester’s Dancefest was hosted by senior Clare Schneider, junior Tasnim Ali and junior Jehdeiah Mixon. They provided the crowd with an entertaining sense of humor and slightly controversial commentary.
Dance groups ranged from Colgate Ballroom Dancers to Irish Dance to Chinese Dance Club to Melanated and more. The night began with all of the dancers joining the stage for a performance of “Raindrops” by SNBRN feat. Kerli. After that, the Groove Dance Troupe performed “Malt Liquor” by Lewis del Mar, Melanated Dance Company performed a Throwback Thursday compilation, Irish Dance performed the Belles of Belfast City compilation and Bellydance Club danced to “Unveiled” by Raul Ferrando.
“Dancefest is one of my favorite days of the semester at Colgate. It’s amazing as a choreographer to see all of your ideas come to life through your dancers and to share that with the community,” junior Megan Goss said.
Goss has participated in multiple Dancefests during her years at Colgate and is a member of Shock Dance Group.
As the evening progressed, hits such as Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girls,” Florence + The Machine’s “Cosmic Love” and Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” livened up the crowd.
“The energy in the chapel was electric,” sophomore Oneida Shushe said.
After the Senior Dance, two Dancefest performers thanked Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater Tanya Calamoneri for all of her help and dedication in advancing the dance program at Colgate. She provided academic support, taught dance classes, and helped increase interest in dance at Colgate. The performers said that although Dancefest unites hundreds of people together to appreciate the art form of dance, Colgate still does not have an academic program for dance. That is something that they would like to see change.
“Dancefest is all student-driven, though I have many of the same students in class. Over the past three years I’ve watched their movement vocabulary expand, which has been fun to watch,” Calamoneri said.
The outfits of each dance group complimented their performance, from Shock Dance Group impersonating Miley Cyrus with space-buns and chokers, to traditional Asian clothing in Chinese Dance Club’s Mulan compilation. Each dance performance told a story, and it was amazing to feel the energy and passion the dancers had for creating art by moving their bodies.
“I can say that I have been impressed to witness the developing dialogue about cultural relevancy as expressed through dance. My dance students read an article called ‘Ballet as a Form of Ethnic Dance?’ which offers us a way to disrupt the normal hierarchy in dance. I think it is so important for us as dancers to recognize that the conversation on power and oppression is played out through the body, and that we as movement artists are empowered to shape that dialogue by becoming informed dancers and recognizing that everything we do carries meaning, and that we are fully capable of reshaping knowledge through movement,” Calamoneri said.
Clearly, each dance group put forth countless hours of dedication and sacrifice into putting together this semester’s Dancefest and the Colgate student body appreciated it.
“It was great to see so many of us students come together to support our peers on performances they’re worked hard to perfect,” Shushe said.