Dancefest 2017: The Fashion Scene


With all of the diverse organizations and amazing dance groups on campus, the style and edge both on and off the stage are undeniable. Colgate’s Dancefest is an opportunity for all of the different dance groups not only to shine on stage, but to express themselves. What better way to amplify a message than through fashion? This is exactly what the dance groups at dancefest achieved in one way or another to magnify the impact of their performances through fashion. Their clothes were tools to create an atmosphere, communicate something or express a feeling. The way a person or a group chooses to dress can say a lot about their purpose, personality and vibe.

By interviewing members from a couple of different groups, I got their take on what the style of their group is and what influenced them when picking their outfits for this spring’s show. A member of the Latin American Dance said that the important thing is expressing their heritage and the different mixtures of cultures through dance and utilizing the clothes they wear while dancing to further convey this. The group made it clear that the purpose of the traditional dress they were wearing wasn’t to encourage or celebrate the stereotypes associated with Latin America, but instead, it was a sign of resistance, power and awareness.

The theme of clothes as a way to empower an individual or group was definitely prominent throughout dancefest. A member from the dance group Melanated said that they decided what to wear depending on the song and purpose of the particular dance they were doing. Their first dance was a throwback to the 90s, so they chose to use things like windbreakers, bold colors, headbands, etc. Items like these helped create the vibe of the 90s. The member added on to say that since their second dance was all about empowerment they decided to wear black bottoms and black t-shirts with a fist and the continent of Africa on them. This style choice would help carry the purpose of the group: to promote the undying message of self-love and pride for all people of color. I also interviewed a member who was  part of both the Belly Dance Club and Kuumba. She described the Belly Dance club as having a more traditional approach towards the style of clothing they wear. The use of hip scarves, fan veils and scimitar balancing swords were essential in creating the atmosphere for the dances. When explaining the style of Kuumba the dance member said that what they wore was dependent on the music they were dancing to. Since they were dancing to energetic songs the outfits are more athletic and easy to move in.

Black clothing was a common Dancefest theme. This wasn’t surprising at all. Black is a color that exudes confidence and strength. When somebody is wearing all black or a black standout item, such as a black leather jacket, they tend to project an aura of being fierce and secure. This is exactly what the groups at dancefest accomplished with their black clothing. A few examples include Colgate Ballroom Dancers, Groove Dance Troupe, Melanated and DDT.  Another trend that was evident at dancefest was the linking of the music and culture to the clothing choices. If a group was dancing a more instrumental or emotional piece they would wear black or darker colors and dress minimalistically to help highlight the dancers more and distract the audience less with garments. However, if a group danced a more cultural or traditional dance, they would usually wear colors and garments that related to the culture they were representing. When groups danced to music that was more energetic or related to an era, they would choose outfits that would help emulate a particular era or atmosphere. The variety of different styles helped make this year’s dancefest the pinnacle of diversity, expression and style on campus.