It’s that time of year; the time when classmates and friends entertain the entire student body by giving breathtakingly talented performances on the chapel stage. Yes. It’s Dancefest. Now let me be honest: I can’t dance. I have been called out on numerous occasions for my beyond subpar dance skills. Given my abominable rhythm and movement, I have profound appreciation for anyone who can get on the stage and somewhat move to music. This deep admiration has led to my sincere enjoyment of the dance program. That appreciation combined with the excited energy in the room provided for a mind blowing and incredible Spring 2015 Dancefest.
This year’s slogan took after the 2014 Walk The Moon hit, “Shut up and Dance.” And that’s just what these 25 acts did. The show’s opening is a reminder of how many students participate in dance groups on campus. Each act gives a quick preview of what’s to come and sets the stage for what would be an extraordinary evening. As the show went down, senior MCs, Melissa Barnard and Caroline Burke provided comic relief between the acts.
Colgate’s dance program is unique in its inclusion of eclectic and diverse types of dance. However, no matter the technical categorization that these acts fall under, they all succeed in telling a story. Groove, FUSE and Shock, as relatively smaller groups, all struck me in their strong ability to convey emotions. By positioning themselves asymmetrically, they created an imbalance on stage that made their story more tellable. The Colgate Dance Team, KPOP’D, DDT, Wolfpack and Kuumba all used hip hop, fast movements and symmetry to make their message come across. The thing I loved most was being able to gain insight into other cultures and traditions through dances. The Tahitian and Latin American Dance groups as well as Bellydancing stood out for their unique costumes and esoteric talents. Finally, the step dancing, ballet and ballroom dancing were all noteworthy for their flawlessly technical presentations.
To think that some of the seniors will be graduating in just a few short weeks is sad. But to witness some of these dedicated seniors’ last Dancefest is even sadder. For some of these seniors, Dancefest was an essential part of their Colgate experience.
“I will always be thankful for the memories I had with some of my best friends; it was amazing,” senior Mari Faines said.
Sophomore Claire Kittock, who is involved in both Colgate Ballet Company and tap, dance loves how enthusiastic both audience members and dancers are as well as how supportive dancers are backstage. As far as handling two different groups, Kittock welcomes the challenge.
“It is fun being in multiple groups because I get to dance in different styles,” Kittock said. “Some, like tap, are more familiar to me, and some, like ballet, are newer. It’s great that Dancefest welcomes dancers of all experience levels.”
It is worth noting some of the moments that made this Dancefest unique. Towards the end of Wolfpack’s number, a few audience members held down a banner from the upper balcony that said “wolfpack” leading to the audience rupturing in applause. In the most notorious Dancefest activity, the dance-off, we saw the most student participation ever with three Colgate students on stage.
Lastly, this year marked the pilot year of “Dancefest: Behind the Scenes,” a day-long workshop in which dance teams on campus gather to teach others choreography that they had performed on stage the night before. Sophomore Kevin Iglesias, who spearheaded the event, felt that the workshop provides a unique opportunity for more students to dance in a more casual setting.
“Dancefest: Behind the Scenes would allow students who do not want to commit to a semester’s worth of dance to still experience dance,” Iglesias said. “Also, it would allow students to experiment with different genres.”
Overall, Dancefest was a great way to bring the Colgate community together one last time before everyone embarks on their summer plans. Everyone was extremely supportive and exuberant in their applauses after each dance. And for those of you like me, sitting in the audience, wondering whether or not you could pull off the choreography of Kuumba and/or Wolfpack, just remember – anything goes at the Jug!