The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Dance the Night Away at Fall 2023 Dancefest

Cynthia Ortiz-Naranjo

On Saturday, Dec. 2, members of the Colgate University community flocked to the Colgate Memorial Chapel, filling the building to the brim. At exactly 5:30 p.m., the murmurs of the crowd were silenced as the Chapel’s sound system came to life with the first notes of “Cha-Cha Slide,” and the members of Colgate’s various dance groups filled the stage. The opening number — which brought together every performer from the night — consisted of a medley of classic dance floor anthems, ranging from Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” to the fan-favorite jig, “Cotton Eye Joe.”

Dancefest, which occurs twice a year, is a highly anticipated event for many Colgate students, giving dancers of all levels a chance to showcase their talents as members of the many student dance groups on campus. The show lasted almost two hours and included performances from a wide variety of groups, including Colgate Ballroom Dance, Melanated, Colgate Ballet Company and Shock, among others. The groups work for months to prepare their dances — sometimes more than just one — which are all choreographed by group members.

Junior Maya Schwartz is a member of both Colgate Tap Troupe and Colgate Shock, of which she is one of the co-presidents. This Fall’s Dancefest marks the fifth Dancefest that she has performed in on campus. After a lot of hard work, Schwartz noted that she is always excited to see the final results of the groups that participate in Dancefest each semester.

“Dancefest is honestly one of my favorite events of the whole year. It is such an incredible experience to see all of your group’s hard work pay off. We practice every week throughout the semester, so it is extremely exciting to see the dance come together and be able to showcase it to the student body,” Schwartz said. “It’s also exciting to watch all of the other dance groups perform. Before Dancefest, I only know what my groups have been working on. I’m always blown away by the talent of all the groups. There are so many different styles of dance and everyone is so impressive.”

Colgate Dancefest welcomes dancers from all backgrounds and levels, representing different styles of dance, cultures and groups. Some performers, like Schwartz, have studied dancing extensively before coming to Colgate, continuing their dance career through dance groups like Shock and Colgate Tap Troupe.

“I’ve always loved to dance throughout my entire life,” Schwartz said. “I started dancing when I was two and continued dancing recreationally throughout high school in addition to also being a leader of my high school dance team. Being able to continue dancing in college has been one of the most rewarding parts of my collegiate experience.” 

At the same time, many students, like senior Jordan Afromsky, participate in Colgate’s dance groups with no prior experience dancing, choosing to join for the fun of getting involved with a group on campus.

“I joined Shock my sophomore year as a way to get involved further on campus and to just do something fun once a week,” Afromsky said. “I had no dance experience before joining Shock, which should have made me wary, but the environment was so positive that I was not worried.”

The groups that come together to perform in Dancefest each year welcome everyone, allowing beginners and more advanced dancers alike to perform together onstage. Senior Lucy Gilpin is just starting out as a dancer but still feels welcomed as a member of Shock.

“I joined […] because my friends did it in the fall of my sophomore year and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to participate, too. I also wanted to add an element of fun to my involvement on campus,” Gilpin said. “I love that Shock is for beginners and that everyone is welcome. It allows the group to be light-hearted and have fun while learning and preparing the dance for Dancefest.”

While everyone who participates in Dancefest loves to dance, the real excitement comes from performing for a crowd of fellow Colgate students. Throughout the night, the crowd is constantly breaking out into claps and cheers, supporting their classmates who grace the stage. For junior Victoria Mack, this is the best part of the Dancefest experience.

“My favorite part of Dancefest has to be seeing everyone perform,” Mack said. “All the groups are amazing, and I love watching the different styles. Everyone who does Dancefest is so talented and dedicated — it’s really special to watch all the hard work people put in throughout the semester and experience the excitement and nerves backstage.”

Fans can go to Dancefest near the end of each semester for an unforgettable night of dancing that brings together all members of the Colgate community.

“I highly recommend going to watch at least one Dancefest before you graduate,” Mack said. “The energy from the student body is always exhilarating, and you get to cheer on your friends.”

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About the Contributor
Claire Dodds
Claire Dodds, Arts & Features Editor (Fall)
Claire Dodds is a junior from Cresskill, NJ concentrating international relations with a minor in art history. She has previously served as a contributing writer for the News and Commentary sections. On campus, Claire is involved in the Ski Team, Spoon University, and is a member of a Greek letter organization.

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